Skills Shortages in the Engineering Sector

Skills Shortages in Engineering


Latest statistics indicate that  there is an 81,000 shortfall of people with engineering skills in the UK workforce. How do you address this problem. We’ve set out below some ideas and a case study

It might sound obvious but you first have to establish what you have before moving on to what you haven’t!  It’s also important to first engage with managers at all levels so they can inform this process.

Our  advice is to start with a training needs and gap analysis which identifies skills shortages and will lead to the preparation of a training development programme. below we’ve set out an example of the type of programme that can be put together.

Managing Positively at Magor Designs Ltd

Aim of the programme:

To enable all Magor mangers to feel they can manage positive and negative performance through the appraisal process, whilst keeping Magor’s Values at the heart of what they do.

Those involved:

Senior and Middle Managers

Magor Engineering


In 2016, Magor’s owner and MD worked with his senior leaders to plan and develop new company Vision and Values. Once these were agreed they were launched across the organisation to all employees and managers. To support the roll it was important to look at all policies and procedures so that these reflected the new values. It was identified that the appraisal system as well as the appraisal forms needed to be developed to reflect these as well as undertaking a training needs analysis. Through the improved appraisals individual skills gaps could be identified.

The MD was very aware that as a traditional engineering firm, where the norm was for many people to have worked there for over 30 years, changing this appraisal and performance culture would be hard. There would also be resistance to introducing new training initiatives as identified in the training needs analysis.

It had to start with the thirteen managers and senior leaders adopting a different approach and management style. They would need to become effective leaders and role models in the values first whilst continuing to manage effective working relationships as well as follow the new process.

Programme roll out and content:

The programme was called ‘Managing Positively’ and was accredited against an Award with the ILM. Skills in having difficult and challenging conversations, coaching, developing others through learning conversations, performance management, challenging behaviours early, giving good feedback and praise, return- to- work interviews and dealing with disciplinary issues were part of the programme developed to help managers practise these skills.

The programme spanned seven months, starting with a senior team away day in the Brecon Beacons training venue , co-led by the MD, and focusing on the new Vision , Values and appraisal forms. It then included twilight sessions at a local venue to fit around the working culture of the company, to ensure business as usual wasn’t disrupted. Sessions were lively, interactive, allowed for positive experimentation and feedback of skills and although the learning was intense it was also fun and carried out in a safe environment of support.

At the end of the programme certificates from the ILM were awarded to each delegate.

Outcomes and Feedback

Magor designs

I think they are more of a team than when we first started. They (delegates) clearly demonstrated better skills in having difficult conversations whether in appraisals or sickness. (Jennie Richards, Trainer)

“The programme went down very well, and this has only been confirmed from ongoing conversations with the senior Magor team. They feel more empowered, more confident and more able to tackle all issues of people management early, with informed understanding of the issues involved and the strategies they can now use.” (Ewan McConnell CEO/MD , Magor Designs Ltd)