Young people 'lack work ethic' - IMechE

More than a third of UK manufacturing companies believe young people don't have the work ethic to succeed in industry, according to a poll released today by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

In a survey of 1,000 British manufacturers, as many as 57% said apprentices, graduates and new recruits lack practical skills, while 42% said they lacked communication skills.

Additionally, more than 60% of firms said uncertainty surrounding the UK's EU future was negatively impacting manufacturing, with 28% now sending manufacturing work abroad.

Philippa Oldham, head of manufacturing at the IMechE, described the results as 'hugely concerning'.

"The UK remains in the economic doldrums and has seen next to no growth since our 2012 survey," she commented. "Manufacturing and engineering remains the best way to help create and build a stronger economic model for the UK over the coming decades.

"If we are to be internationally competitive and help rebalance our economy we need manufacturers to be producing products for new markets and to increase our exports to developing nations."

Oldham said a long term industrial strategy was needed to tackle the growing skills crisis, and called on the government to do more to reinforce the benefits of localised manufacturing.

"Government must gain cross-party support on a long term industrial strategy which engages with industry and provides greater access to sufficient capital investment for companies to develop new products and manufacturing processes," she concluded.

Laura Hopperton

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