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In the first of a series of smart skills spending papers, this paper outlines why STEM, and in particular engineering graduates, are so important to manufacturers. It identifies the challenges with current Government funding for engineering degrees, explores how to ensure that universities can deliver high-cost degrees and, continue to produce enough engineering graduates to meet demand.

As manufacturers move towards the production of high-value goods and related services, as well as utilising new technologies, this will only increase their demand for higher-level skills. Ensuring manufacturers have access to the skills that they need now, and in the future, will be essential if they are to achieve their growth ambitions. It will also be key to the Government meeting its People Pillar of the Industrial Strategy, and filling the skills gap in our industry. To meet this demand, manufacturers need access to an expanding supply of engineering graduates, in particular engineering graduates, which can be attained through an effective higher education system.

This paper will form the basis of EEF’s contribution to the Government’s review into post-18 education and funding, and as this paper demonstrates, is an opportunity to set a long-term course for investment in the UK education system and to build a stable funding environment. At the heart of this should be smart investment in the degrees that will fill the skills gap in the UK’s most important industries.

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