Isle of Man News - POSTED Wed 19-02-2014

Skills shortage threat

by Joanne Clague

Skills shortage threat - picture

The growth of the high-tech manufacturing industry could be threatened by a shortage of local skills.

To help meet demand, an expanded engineering programme at the Isle of Man College is offering 36 apprenticeships. The programme is targeted at the aerospace, precision engineering and high-tech sectors on the Isle of Man.

And the Chamber of Commerce says manufacturing businesses have pledged to recruit their future apprentices directly from this course.

One of the key elements of yesterday's Budget announcement was an investment of £1million to create a dedicated engineering
training centre of excellence at Hills Meadown in Douglas.

Economic Development Minister John Shimmin said: 'The manufacturing sector is creating 80 new jobs per year and much of the
sector's future growth will be dependent on accessibility to skilled engineers. Therefore we need to develop a highly skilled local workforce in order to ensure continued success in the future.'

Mr Shimmin said high-tech manufaturing offered excellent opportunities for well-paid employment, with the demand for skilled engineers in the Isle of Man being 'very high'.

Chris Allen of the Chamber of Commerce said: 'The Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering Course is a modern take on the
traditional engineering apprenticeship specifically targeted at the aerospace, precision engineering and high-tech sectors on the Isle of Man. Many businesses in these sectors are currently boasting significant growth and skills shortages are threatening to limit this.

'The industry has worked together with the Department of Education and Children and DED to develop the course content and
approach. Students will complete two years at the college and will receive not only tuition for academic qualifications but also practical training, which will enable them to join industry to complete a third year as an apprentice.

'Manufacturing businesses have committed to recruit their future apprentices directly from this course. The industry is very excited about this course and so if anyone is interested in an apprenticeship with some of the Island’s most exciting manufacturers then this course is for you.'

Got a story? contact Joanne on 340000 or email newsdesk@manx.net

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