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EAMA - Engineering & Machinery Alliance
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EAMA - Engineering & Machinery Alliance Press release

Tuesday 24th June 2008


Increasing investment in training to make up for recruitment difficulties
Big task to make companies aware of government support to raise skills levels


With 87% of mechanical engineering firms struggling to find the people they need, companies are adopting three main strategies to get round the problem: half the companies increased their 2008 training budgets, a third employ foreign workers and another third offer apprenticeships.

According to “Skills and Qualifications” a report from the Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA) half the apprenticeships, run by SMEs as well as big companies, are fully company funded. Half the sector run annual training programmes for their skilled workers. A third do the same each year for all their people.

“Clearly the sector is, despite what one hears, doing quite a bit about the skills shortage, tackling it in a practical way to solve immediate problems,” says Martin Walder, EAMA chairman. “We need to ask government to keep this immediate problem in mind too as they launch their major initiative to make the whole economy more skills competitive.”

With only a third of firms aware of the level of support government is prepared to introduce to raise sector skills levels longer term, the report concludes that there is an important communications job to be done to make sure that firms are aware of what is on offer and that government is clear about the sector’s practical needs.

Martin Walder: “To outsiders the skills and training sector has become characterised by its complexity. The associated jargon makes communication difficult. In the report we highlight the companies’ strongly expressed view that they want simple, direct information about what’s available and that trade associations could play a helpful and supportive role, particularly in sectors like ours where SMEs play such an important role.”

“Skills and Qualifications, mechanical engineering firms’ perspectives on skills and training and government’s role” can be viewed or downloaded from EAMA’s website at www.eama.info under publications.


Notes to Editors:

  1. The EAMA survey took place December 2007-January 2008
  2. EAMA associations: British Automation and Robot Association; British Turned Part Manufacturers Association; British Plastics Federation; British Paper Machinery Suppliers Association; Confederation of British Metalforming; Gauge and Toolmakers Association; Manufacturing Technologies Association; Printing, Papermaking and Converting Suppliers Association; Processing and Packaging Machinery Association