Two TUC-affiliated unions have signed a charter with EngTechNow aimed at ensuring supporting technician workers and apprentices in achieving professional status. TSSA and Prospect signed the charter as a commitment to take practical steps as EngTechNow released the Experience Gap: the unspoken skills gap report.
The report launch and formal signing of the charter took place in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday.
The report highlights the fact that the UK's future economic growth will be hindered by a significant experience gap in engineering if good practice for developing technician careers is not adopted more widely.
Unionlearn's contribution towards the report emphasised the need to up-skill the existing workforce. There is a big need for employers work together in partnership with trade unions to ensure the technicians can access continuous appropriate professional development (CPD) and professional registration.
Blane Judd, the Chief Executive of EngTechNow, said:
"We face a technician shortage of 450,000 by 2020. Fortunately solutions are emerging from forward-thinking infrastructure projects, employers and trade unions, which, if adopted more widely, will see the skills and experience gap overcome."
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of TSSA said:
"Engineering is the lifeblood that keeps our modern society working 24/7 365 days a year. It is the heart and soul of British industry. We need to do all we can to ensure that we do all in our powers to recognise and support that vital role."
Dai Hudd, Deputy General Secretary of Prospect, said:
"In signing the EngTechNow charter, Prospect is signalling the importance it attaches to developing and safeguarding a skilled workforce. As the union representing skilled workers, Prospect aims through its RegTech project to promote and support the registration of not only engineering technicians, but also IT and science technicians in the many workplaces where its members can be found."
Tom Wilson, the unionlearn director, said:
"Partnership work is the key that bridges the skills gap. Unionlearn’s Technician Pathways project works on engaging unions into raising the importance and recognition of the technician role in the workplace and exploring how registration can help technicians to access continuous professional development."
EngTechNow is a project promoting the contribution technical staff make in UK's engineering industry and value of EngTech registration to technicians and employers. Technicians do essential work in highly skilled (around Level 3 or 4) practical roles. They typically work as a part of a team in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Other signatories of the charter were two infrastructure projects, Crossrail and Thames Tideway, and eight engineering employers: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Doosan Babcock, E.ON, Jaguar Land Rover, NG Bailey, QinetiQ and Royal Mail.