We're all affected by skills shortage

Nationally and locally we face a skills crisis Ė we simply donít have enough young people to fill the important jobs in the science, technology, maths and engineering (STEM) industries. And we are scandalously short of women.

Worcestershire shares in this skills shortage. We have some major engineering companies in the county, as well as many small and medium sized ones who canít grow because of the lack of the skilled workers they need.

Businesses in Worcestershire are also seeing local engineering skills being sucked away from our county and drawn to growing companies in nearby. In particular, the continuing and welcome success of Jaguar Land Rover is attracting engineers out of our county.

Iím devoting much of my time in Parliament to this issue because itís so important.

Last year the Prime Minister challenged me to come up with some policy proposals to attract more girls into engineering careers. So, I commissioned a report. I got five of the UKís top engineering companies to sponsor it and asked Science Grrl, a group of impressive young women who are all working in STEM, to research and write it.

The report was launched earlier this week and has some really great ideas. You can read it at http://sciencegrrl.co.uk/. You may have seen one of the authors on BBC Breakfast on Monday, talking about it.

Now we must make sure that the recommendations in the report are put into action. I have sent the report to the Prime Minister and impressed on him and other ministers the need to adopt the suggestions it makes.

I am optimistic that we can bring about the change need so local businesses, which are crying out for young talent, can recruit the highly skilled workers that they need to grow and expand.


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