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More pupils should be encouraged into industry careers, according to employers
Published:  29 June, 2012

Less than one in five employers believe school pupils are encouraged to take up a career in industry, new survey findings have revealed.

Despite warnings that more needs to be done to boost the number of school leavers entering into a career in engineering or manufacturing, employers are concerned that schools are not creating a positive impression of modern British industry.

Only 17% believe pupils are getting a positive impression from their school, 49% said teachers and careers advisors are failing to inspire pupils to join industry and 34% said they were unsure.

They did agree that the responsibility for promoting careers in industry lies not only with schools and careers advisors but parents and government too.

Nearly 39% said schools should be encouraging pupils to consider an industry career as an option after they leave. 28% said government should take responsibility, yet only 18% said employers should be encouraging school pupils to join their sectors.

Just 14% placed the onus on sector bodies and trade association to take the lead.

The results come from a survey run on behalf of EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications.

500 managing directors and those responsible for HR and training at companies across engineering and manufacturing, building services, construction, logistics, and energy and utilities were polled.

Ann Watson, managing director of EAL, said: “The survey results clearly show that employers are unconvinced that schools are doing all they can to encourage their pupils to take up a career in engineering, manufacturing or building services, among other sectors.

The launch of the National Careers Service has made schools responsible for securing independent, impartial careers guidance for pupils, with the freedom to make arrangements that fit their needs and circumstances, so it’s vital to ensure industry careers are fairly and accurately represented.

“The responsibility, however, should not fall solely on the shoulders of schools. EAL and Semta have worked together to publish guidance for people looking to get into engineering, on our Careers in Industry website.

“Employers can also help to educate young people, as well as their teachers and parents, in the variety of careers available in industry.

“And government campaigns, such as Make it in Great Britain, will help transform misconceptions of manufacturing being the same as it was 30 or 40 years ago, instead of the modern, hi-tech industry it is today.”

Engineering and manufacturing generated almost a quarter of the UK’s annual turnover in the year ending March 2010, a report from Engineering UK stated, and will require more than 2.2 million new employees over the next five to 10 years.

The sector currently has a workforce of over 5.6 million people across more than 550,000 enterprises.