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Manufacturers and Engineers Condemn Skills Gap

Carpenter Box : 19 December, 2013  (Company News)
Skills shortages topped the agenda at the second meeting of the Sussex Manufacturing Forum, with 16 manufacturing and engineering businesses airing concerns about recruitment being a barrier to growth.

From apprentices to graduate engineers and at every level in between, the common theme was that there are not enough skilled candidates – with worries expressed over skills and attitude among the current cohort of applicants.
Chris Coopey, one of the founders of the Forum and head of the Manufacturing Group at Carpenter Box chartered accountants, commented: “The general view amongst attendees was that manufacturing and engineering is still perceived as a life amongst the dark satanic mills, whereas the reality is that the UK is at the cutting edge of a very high tech industry with the ‘Made in Great Britain’ brand respected and sought after across the world”.
Forum members swapped experiences and views, many of which pointed to a disconnect between industry and schools, colleges and some universities.  In schools, the quality of careers advice was highlighted as an area of real concern. 
This was particularly worrying for Forum members, when a show of hands highlighted that:
75% would be recruiting in the next six months
87% would be investing in plant and machinery over the next six months
94% were optimistic about business prospects in 2014
Coopey added: “As a consequence of the very lively debate on the skills gap, the Forum in 2014 will arrange a specific meeting focusing on the issue.  Educational professionals will be invited along to take part in a debate aimed at helping SME manufacturers and engineers to understand what can be done to help educate the future workforce about the many exciting opportunities and rewards in the manufacturing and engineering sector”.
The Sussex Manufacturing Forum is free to attend for manufacturing and engineering companies and representatives from Forum sponsors UKTI, HSBC Bank and Carpenter Box are on hand to offer advice on everything from lean processes to exporting and R&D tax claims. Manufacturers and engineers can get more information and sign up at
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