Prime minister David Cameron has announced a new apprenticeship scheme to create an additional 100,000 engineering technicians by 2018.
The scheme will give 100,000 young people structured on-the-job training built upon a recognised academic qualification.
It has been created by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
The apprenticeships are backed by £10m from the Gatsby Foundation, which supports science, engineering and maths education.
Mr Cameron said: “British engineering and innovation are a part of our history that we are rightly very proud of and our engineering excellence continues to change the world that we live in for the better.
“Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and to build their careers, creating a truly world-class, high-skilled workforce that can compete and thrive in the global race,” he added.
“Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and to build their careers”
David Cameron, prime minister
More than 500,000 engineering apprenticeships have been created since 2010, but more are expected to be needed to meet future demand and contribute to the UK’s engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.
On successful completion, each apprentice will have the skills and competencies to attain the globally recognised qualification of engineering technician, EngTech.
Institution of Mechanical Engineers chief executive Stephen Tetlow commented: “This initiative will ensure that the UK has a growing stream of engineering technicians being developed to a level that is recognised and respected around the world.
“We are pleased that Mr Cameron recognises the importance of Engineering Technicians to the UK’s engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.”
He added that up to £1.5bn will be invested in 2013 alone to ensure more people can access high quality apprenticeships.
ICE president professor Barry Clarke added: “If we want world class infrastructure, fit for the 21st century, we must have a world class engineering workforce to deliver it.”
“Engineering technicians – who exercise very specialist skills and techniques and solve complex problems – form a vital part of the skills mix and ultimately help to deliver projects efficiently and on time.
“Our work to boost the number of technicians, and ensure they are recognised in society, is crucial if we are to have the right skills to meet the challenges ahead. The much welcomed backing by the prime minister is testimony to its importance,” he said.