BUSINESSES in Stafford have joined calls for the Government to reconsider its proposal to remove GCSE engineering - warning it could lead to a skills crisis.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has highlighted the concern to Ofqual, following proposals to streamline the number of GCSE courses in manufacturing, electronics and engineering as a result of low numbers of students studying them.
Stafford-based engine specialist, Perkins, said the industry is already facing a shortage of engineers and well-skilled technicians, and fears the deficit will get bigger in the future.
A Perkins spokesperson said: “Without such people, we lose business opportunities and therefore growth and development opportunities.
“It is very important to help students to understand the value of studying for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) qualifications at an early enough stage of their academic journey so that they don't exclude themselves from being able to study at a higher level and, ultimately, pursue STEM related careers.”
Analysis of this year’s GCSE results shows a 73 per cent increase (5,027 students in 2014 compared to 2,897 in 2013) in students successfully studying GCSE engineering.
Paul Davies, IET Head of Policy, said: “It is imperative GCSE engineering be reformed rather than removed.
“GCSE engineering is widely recognised as a significant route to providing the crucial technical skills that young people need to succeed in industry.
“It is important to engage students with the discipline of engineering as early as possible.
“The fact of the matter is that the UK has a shortage of engineers and the removal of these subjects sends the wrong message about their importance to the UK’s economy.”
The IET’s 2014 Engineering and Technology: Skills and Demand in Industry Annual Survey revealed 59 per cent of companies indicated concerns that a shortage of engineers would be a threat to their businesses.