The Labour Party has said it would work with schools to improve skills for more girls and boys in science, technology, engineering and maths, after Ed Miliband (pictured) branded the lack of UK female engineers a “matter of national embarrassment”.
Writing on Facebook, the Labour Party leader said he is in favour of giving employers the chance to be in charge of the funds for training young people to ensure as many school-leavers go on to high-quality apprenticeships as those that go to university.
On the social networking site, he said: “If we are going to win the race to the top in the 21st century, we have to re-establish our historic reputation as a world leader in technology and manufacturing. We need to equip our businesses with the skills they need to succeed. But the UK is facing a crisis in the number of engineers being trained up.
“This is not just a shortage of the traditional civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, but also in information technology, green energy and life sciences, where many of the jobs of the future will be created.”
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Calling for an extra 400,000 people to take up careers in engineering by the end of the decade, he said: "It should be matter of national embarrassment the UK has the lowest proportion of female engineering professionals of anywhere in Europe."
According to Miliband, the UK needs about 780,000 engineers by 2020 to meet industry demand, however the country is currently training less than half of that figure.
“In 2013, only 14% of engineering graduates were women. And only 4% of professionally registered engineers are female,” he wrote.
“The next Labour government will seek to put the UK back at the forefront of invention, technology and engineering with a national mission to create an extra 400,000 engineers by 2020. We are determined to make it happen. And we have a plan to make it happen.”