Focus Areas

SET Skills in the Workforce

Technicians are the linchpins of the UK economy. They are skilled people who use their science, engineering or technology knowledge to identify and solve practical problems. They are the electricians and plumbers that we all rely on, but they are also crucial to the success of many of our country’s future-growth areas, including the aerospace, chemical, digital, engineering, and manufacturing industries.

Technicians Make it Happen is our campaign that seeks to raise the profile of the country's 1.5 million technicians

Beyond the obvious skills needs of technology-heavy sectors, many areas of our national life, from the NHS to our armed services, depend on skilled technicians to operate efficiently. However, whilst there has been significant effort and investment over several decades to improve the number of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates, successive governments have turned a blind eye to an equally critical shortage of technicians in these same disciplines.

Currently, over 1.5 million technicians are employed in the UK. The majority of these technicians are employed in engineering roles but there are also significant numbers working in science, health and technology. However, an aging workforce means that 50,000 of our best technicians are retiring every year, and forecasts show we will need as many as 700,000 more technicians in the next decade to meet demand from employers.

Working as a technician is a highly-varied and rewarding role with good levels of pay and opportunities for career progression. But the best technician jobs do not make it on to the radar of most young people. As a result, large numbers of young people are leaving school without the qualifications employers look for when recruiting technicians. An historic lack of good career guidance in schools and colleges in relation to techician careers has not helped, but this is also symptomatic of a wider, cultural problem – for decades, government and society at large have overlooked how important technicians are to the economy.