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Brexit could lead to shortage of skilled engineers in the UK

Engineering firms are concerned that the U.K.'s decision to leave the Europe Union will result in a skills gap in the sector, with current British graduates lacking key knowledge, a new survey reveals.

Based on a survey of more than 400 employers of engineering and technology staff, 62 percent say British graduates do not meet their expectations and 68 percent were concerned the U.K. education system would struggle to keep up with the skills required as technology develops.

As a result, 35 percent said they believed that their recruitment will be negatively impacted over the next four to five years due to Brexit as the pool of skilled workers in Europe would not be available to them. On the other hand, 5 percent said Brexit would have a positive impact on recruitment, 23 percent said it would have no impact at all and 36 percent were unsure.

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The results of the survey, which was conducted using telephone interviews, were published today in the 2016 Skills and Demand in Industry report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

"Demand for engineers is high but the report reveals deeper concern than ever around the skills and experience of our future workforce," said Naomi Climer, president of the IET, in a press release.

"As we are facing an engineering shortfall in the next decade and some uncertainty around skills following Brexit, it is more important than ever that we develop the next generation of 'home grown' engineering and technology talent."

One proposed solution to the shortfall is to push more employers to provide work experience to students in education or training. The IET plans to launch a new campaign, 'Engineering Work Experience for All', to encourage employers, universities and the government to provide more opportunities for quality work experience.

"One of the biggest challenges appears to be recruiting candidates with the right practical skills, which is why the IET is launching a new campaign to highlight the benefits of employers offering quality work experience to engineering students," added Climer.

"Employers and educators must continue to strengthen their working relationships to ensure that the work experience they offer is designed with the skills gaps in mind."

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