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Shortage of engineering graduates

A study by the Royal Academy of Engineering has revealed the UK needs to increase the number of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) graduates it is creating by 50%.

Firms across the UK are struggling to recruit engineers and the report says 100,000 Stem graduates are needed a year just to maintain the status quo. The report estimates 830,000 graduate-level Stem experts and 450,000 technicians will be needed by 2020.

In the UK some 23,000 engineers are graduating every year. But India is producing eight times as many, and China 20 times as many.

The report warns overall that the current pool of science, technology and engineering experts are already "stretched thin" and ageing rapidly. The median age of chartered engineers rises by 10 years for every 14 that pass. UK firms are already having to recruit experts from abroad.

Prof Matthew Harrison, director of engineering and education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said the shortage of Stem graduates was getting worse. "Engineering firms are crying out for engineers. They can't get the people they need. Although they have been very, very vocal about the subject it has not translated into public policy yet."

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said it was working closely with industry and continue to look at various ways to support engineering at all levels, including engagement in schools, apprenticeships and postgraduate training.

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