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MP’s quest to plug shortfall in apprentices
A CAMPAIGN to encourage more young people to take up careers in engineering, science and technology is being launched by a Worcestershire MP.
Peter Luff said the shortage of engineers is a serious threat to the nation’s future economic prosperity.
Mr Luff, MP for Mid-Worcestershire, stepped down last year as a junior defence minister and said too many companies told him one of their biggest problems was recruitment.
He said: “During my five years as chairman of the business, innovation and skills select committee in the last parliament, and my two-and-a-half years as a defence minister in this one, the overriding concern I heard expressed time and time again by manufacturing and technology companies was that there just weren’t enough engineers – apprentices and graduates – to meet demand.
“In the 70s, 80s and 90s, engineering got a pretty bad press. The news was dominated by strikes and job losses and it’s hardly surprising the legacy of that has had its impact on young people.
“But now engineering is one of the best paid and most secure careers a young person can choose. Their work is vital not just in the civilian sector, but also in that of defence.
“Without British engineers and scientists we would not be able to defend ourselves – it’s that simple.”
He also said it was a “scandal” that too few girls study the subject at school, with the current percentage of female GCSE students at 12 per cent, the lowest in the EU.
On Wednesday, February 13, he plans to introduce a new Ten Minute Rule Bill on the House of Commons.
It calls upon them to provide new opportunities, as well as Local Enterprise Partnerships, for school pupils to study science, technology and engineering.
It also calls for the Department of Education to keep a new database of national schemes which encourage a greater understanding of all three areas.
The Bill also calls for graduates to be able to go into schools and host lessons for pupils, even if they have no teaching qualifications.
Ten Minute Rule Bills allow MPs to publicly voice their concerns on certain issues, to see if others agree there should be legislation.