Minister opens the door to new engineering skills for young people
Sep 07, 2012
The UK is producing less than half of the engineering graduates needed to meet the high demand from companies looking to recruit employees with STEM (science, engineering, technology and maths) qualifications  and the general trend for sciences and mathematics A-level entries has declined over the last 15 years . The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) believes that this may partly result from a lack of knowledge about what STEM work and careers may offer young people .
On Friday 7th September, at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen, David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, supported Shell’s efforts to address the UK skills shortfall by welcoming new students onto two Shell courses for young people. Shell set up the bespoke courses, with Banff and Buchan College, to enable young people to access training and education which equips them with the skills and qualifications they need to take up exciting career opportunities in the energy sector.
Alex Baird, Shell’s Plant Installations Manager St. Fergus, explains: "We depend on the skills and expertise of engineers and scientists at Shell. Across the company we have experts who are finding innovative ways to ensure continued energy supplies, designing the world's largest floating vessel with the Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas project and developing new high quality fuels for Formula One. It’s so important that we encourage and develop young people's interest in STEM subjects and careers to make sure we continue to employ talented people."
The Shell Engineering Training Scheme welcomes 12 new students onto its 2012 Scheme, whilst 22 female students will join the Energy for Girls programme. Students who complete the two-year Shell Engineering Training Scheme earn an HND in Mechanical Engineering, an SVQ in Performing Engineering Operations, health and safety and first aid training and ‘soft skills’ such as management, teamworking and interpersonal skills, to give them a range of practical skills for the workplace. Since 2002, 120 young people have completed the course, with 95% going onto further education or straight into employment.
The Girls in Energy course is open to different age groups and academic years and combines practical science education modules with a programme of facility visits and tours, guest speakers and female employees from Shell, who explain their careers and roles in the company. Six girls on the 2011 course are currently on work placements at Shell.
The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP, said: "We know that an increasing number of young people are choosing science, technology, engineering and mathematic subjects at ‘A’ level and university, but businesses tell us they are facing a skills shortage.
“The Shell Engineering Training Scheme not only provides young people with technical knowledge but also hands-on experience. It complements work already underway in Government to encourage more people from all backgrounds to choose a career in engineering. This in turn will help drive growth.”
For further information please contact Shell’s UK media relations team on tel: +44 (0) 20 7934 5550.
 The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) says that an extra 200,000 engineering professionals will be needed by 2020. Currently, the UK is only producing 25 to 50 per cent of the engineering graduates that the economy needs.
 Universities UK report
 Demand for STEM skills (BIS 2009)