Press release

Prime Minister announces 100,000 new engineering apprentices

Prime Minister David Cameron has today announced a new scheme which aims to produce an additional 100,000 engineering technicians by 2018.

The multi-million pound initiative is a national drive to encourage young people to sign up to an engineering apprenticeship. This will create a whole new generation of engineering technicians, giving them structured on-the-job training built upon a recognised academic qualification.

Working through new and established apprentice schemes, the initiative has been created by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and is backed by the Gatsby Foundation.

The Prime Minister made the announcement as the Bloodhound Supersonic Car visited Downing Street, along with a number of existing engineering apprentices and school children.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

British engineering and innovation are a part of our history that we are rightly very proud of and our engineering excellence continues to change the world that we live in for the better. Bloodhound is a fantastic example of what our engineers can achieve.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and to build their careers, creating a truly world-class, high-skilled workforce that can compete and thrive in the global race.

Stephen Tetlow, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said of the initiative:

To help UK companies succeed in this ever-growing competitive global marketplace, we need people with the highest professional skills and abilities.

This initiative will ensure that the UK has a growing stream of Engineering Technicians being developed to a level that is recognised and respected around the world.

We are pleased that Mr Cameron recognises the importance of Engineering Technicians to the UK’s engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.

The Prime Minister unveiled the apprenticeships scheme in the same week that the Queen’s Engineering Prize celebrates the best of British engineering. World leaders in their chosen field such as Tim Berners-Lee – the father of the internet – will be presented with the awards during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 25 June.

The government is committed to ensuring more people can access high quality apprenticeships – which is why we are investing record amounts, with up to £1.5bn this year alone. Already, since 2010, we have passed the 500,000-mark of new apprenticeships.

Notes to editors:

  1. On successful completion, each apprentice will have the appropriate skills and competencies to attain the globally recognised professional registration designation of Engineering Technician (EngTech).

  2. This boost in the number of UK Engineering Technicians will significantly contribute to the nation’s engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.

  3. The Prime Minister will meet apprentices from a number of leading manufacturing and construction companies, including Perkins Engines, Caterpillar, Rolls-Royce, MBDA, Halcrow, BBMV, NG Bailey and Mott MacDonald. In addition, he will meet with future generations of would-be engineers and scientists - Year 10 pupils from Barclay School in Stevenage.

  4. The Bloodhound SSC project – sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers - was launched in 2008 to help inspire the next generation of British engineers and scientists. The record attempts will be undertaken in South Africa by Wing Commander Andy Green, the current world land speed and supersonic speed record holder.

  5. The 13m jet-and-rocket propelled car aims not only to beat the current land speed record of 763mph in 2014, but also to be the first land vehicle to exceed 1,000mph by 2015.

  6. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

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