Industry needs 12,500 electricians to meet tech skills demand

A new labour market report on the electrotechnical industry has estimated that between 12,500 and 15,000 additional skilled electricians will be needed over the next five years to accommodate forecasted growth.

A new labour market report on the electrotechnical industry has estimated that between 12,500 and 15,000 additional skilled electricians will be needed over the next five years to accommodate forecasted growth.

Commissioned by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) and co-funded with industry charity National Electrotechnical Training (NET), the report is the first to provide an in-depth analysis of electrotechnical skills needs in over 10 years. Research specialist Pye Tait compiled the report after surveying almost 450 electrotechnical companies, with around 19,000 employees.

Emerging and future technologies are expected to be major drivers for this increase in skills needs over the next decade, with SMART technology, e-mobility and Wi-Fi technology named as the top-three forces for change. Other areas that are likely to influence the sector include changes to regulations and public policy in areas such as energy efficiency and fire safety.

The research suggests that even if an extra 5000 new apprentices qualified by 2023 (representing a 33% increase), this would still leave a shortfall of 7,500-10,000 electricians needing to be sourced from elsewhere. These workforce predictions are based on meeting demands solely due to sector expansion and do not cover the additional staff turnover occurring from leavers and retirement.

In response to the report and its findings, TESP is now developing an industry action plan to tackle the issues and recommendations raised. Work is already under way in several areas, including the development of new careers resources, promotion of industry-recognised qualifications and activity to forge closer ties between industry, schools and further education. The action plan will also take account of the large numbers of small and micro businesses in the industry, including sole traders, and how these might be better supported in future.

Ruth Devine, chair of TESP and managing director of SJD Electrical, says: “Future success will, however, also hinge on the active participation and support of other stakeholders, including Government departments and agencies, clients, training providers, other sector bodies and of course individual businesses – especially the small and micro businesses who make up our industry’s core.”

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