Sir James Dyson has spoken out about the UK’s lack of home-grown engineering talent, which has seen his company’s UK operations struggle to fill engineering graduate jobs in recent years.
He said: ‘We’ll get all the workers we need in Singapore and Malaysia, but we have to be realistic in Britain. If we can get 300 we’ll be doing well. We would recruit 2,000 if we could. We have got the technology and the ideas. We just need the people.’
The problem will grow exponentially. Sir James said that Britain ‘produced 12,000 engineering graduates a year – and there are currently 54,000 vacancies. It’s predicted that in two years’ time there will be 200,000 vacancies. India produces 1.2m engineering graduates a year. The Philippines produces more than us, so does Iran, so does Mexico. It’s not a sustainable situation.’
The inventor commended forward-thinking initiatives like the Patent Box, but lambasted the lack of funding for engineering post-graduates. Instead of the current £7,000 to £12,000, they ‘should be paid £40,000 a year in recognition of the contribution they will make’.
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