We have considerable admiration for Sir James Dyson’s effort to confront the problem of skill shortages in British engineering, and agree that technical understanding needs augmenting with a range of management and other practical skills for our graduates to start to make real contributions to engineering firms (“Mind the gap”, April 11th). However, simply calling for a boost in numbers on engineering courses, with or without teaching in entrepreneurial skills, is unlikely to solve the problem.
In recent years there has been a big “leakage” in Britain—more than half for all engineering disciplines—of new engineering graduates away from the branches of manufacturing we might assume they would progress into. This suggests that employers are failing to make job offers that are as attractive as those from other industries, and must improve their game to get these graduates back.
Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance
University of Oxford