Acute skills shortage for aerospace industry

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THERE’s anecdotal evidence that engineering firms are outsourcing work off-island because of a shortage of skilled workers, MHKs heard.

Economic Development Minister John Shimmin told the House of Keys that a key challenge facing his department was the skills shortage facing the island’s engineering sector and, in particular, the aerospace industry.

He said the sector as a whole was predicting an ‘acute’ skills shortage over the next few years, with ‘anecdotal evidence already being received that units of work are being outsourced to other off-island locations due to the lack of skilled workers’.

Mr Shimmin, replying to a question from Kate Beecroft (Lib Van, Douglas South), said the issue was being discussed with employers and the Department of Education and Children.

He said: ‘The management at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education is determined to rise to the challenge and is actively considering future changes to the engineering facilities. Such changes, together with an alternative approach to the structure of apprentice training, will result in an increased number of skilled workers, with the skills required by industry.

‘This is a key example of how working in partnership, both with industry and other government departments, can achieve common goals.’

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