With the skills shortage in Britain’s engineering sector only worsening, the UK-based boss of one of Europe’s largest aerospace companies has called for engineering to be introduced as an option at GCSE level. Chief executive of EADS UK Robin Southwell has argued that this lack of skilled engineers is severely holding back Britain’s influence in industries such as aerospace and petrochemicals. He sees creating a broader skills base in such industries at an early stage as the only solution to the problem.
Southwell told the Daily Telegraph: “We’re not looking for more money but if we as a nation launched GCSE engineering and A Level engineering, and we triple the number of engineering places in all forms of education, it would be a great. It’s just prioritising how we as a nation want to spend our limited resources.”
Southwell also argues that it is only once would-be students get to degree level that engineering is presented as an option, and even then it is just in highly-specialised areas or mechanical or aeronautical engineering. His solution is to “advocate GCSE engineering and an A Level in advanced engineering and really sell it as a core discipline for our national curriculum”.