Media release - 22/4/2009

Government must prioritise training and re-training to achieve budget goals in low carbon and emerging technologies

The Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) has welcomed today’s budget proposals for a green economy and growth technologies but has emphasised the need to train, retrain and upskill a large proportion of the UK workforce in order to achieve them.

Chief Executive, Paul Jackson has called for part of the £1.7bn investment in Job Centres to be used for retraining people in key sectors such as engineering. The budget included a number of commitments which will require a skilled engineering workforce, including:
• A £750m Strategic Investment Fund, one third of which will be dedicated to low carbon projects,
• A £2.5bn investment in High Tech industries, a pledge to work with construction firms to increase the housing stock
• A £1bn investment in wind energy and carbon capture
• A £430m fund to improve the energy efficiency of Government buildings
• A £500m investment in energy efficient council housing and a new target of a 34% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB), said: “The Chancellor’s low carbon strategy is a step forward but the UK will need thousands more trained engineers to achieve the 34% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020 – including 262,000 in solar power and 127,000 in wind and hydro power alone. Specialist training in these sectors is absolutely crucial if Britain is to keep pace with the rest of the world.’

“The vast majority of the £260 million allocated to education and training must be ringfenced for wealth-creating disciplines such as engineering, particularly if Government wants enough skilled professionals to use the new ‘emerging technologies’ fund to maximum effect.

“As part of the £1.7m for job centres, priority must also be given to retraining skilled professionals in growth areas such as renewables. Only with the right mix of technical and professional engineering skills can the UK recover from this recession and lay firm foundations for the future.”

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact:
Laura Marsh, PR and Communications Manager EngineeringUK
Tel: 020 3206 0444 or (m) 07887 943 017