Engineering Manufacture (England)

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Framework details

Framework ID: FR04156
Issue number: 22
Issued: 23 October 2017

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Engineering Manufacture (England)
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Contact name: Paul Turnbull
Telephone number: 0845 6439001
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Intermediate Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships are jobs with an accompanying skills development programme designed by employers in the sector. It allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience, along with functional and personal skills, required for their immediate job and future career. These are acquired through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practice and embed new skills in a real work context. This broader mix differentiates the Apprenticeship experience from training delivered to meet narrowly focused job needs.

All apprentices commencing their Intermediate Apprenticeship or Advanced Apprenticeship must have an Apprenticeship Agreement between the employer and apprentice. This can be used to reinforce the understanding of the requirements of the apprenticeship. On completion of the Apprenticeship the apprentice must be able to undertake the full range of duties, in the range of circumstances appropriate to the job, confidently and competently to the standard set by the industry.

Sector background
Semta's engineering sector profile in England is composed of eight core engineering manufacturing sectors.

The 'leading-edge' sectors include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Marine (ship, boat and yacht building, maintenance and repair)

The 'mature engineering' sectors include:

  • Electrical
  • Metal goods
  • Mechanical
  • Other Transport Equipment

Sector employment and establishments
The combined Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) sub-sectors in England employ 1.4 million people across 131,000 establishments. Of those working in AME, an estimated 763,000 people are employed in technical roles such as professional engineers, scientists and technologists. 

Key AME sub-sectors in England include consultancy, testing and analysis (25%), metals (24%), mechanical equipment (14%) and automotive (9%).

Nearly half of all AME employment in England is concentrated in the South East (17%), West Midlands (15%) and North West (13%).

Micro-sized establishments (less than 10 employees) account for 84% of total AME establishments, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs (10 to 249 employees)) represent 15% of establishments and 1% of AME establishments in England are large (250 employees plus).

Demographics of the technical workforce in the AME sectors in England

Working status - 92% of the AME technical workforce is a company employee and 94% of the technical workforce is employed on a full-time basis.

Gender - only 9% of the technical workforce is female.

Age – only 8% of the technical workforce is aged 16-24 years old, with 14% aged 60 years and over.

Disability - only 10% of the technical workforce has some sort of disability.

Ethnicity - only 6% of the technical workforce is from an ethnic minority.

In terms of technical occupations, approximately 58,000 people are employed as technicians, 292,000 people are employed in craft level occupations and 137,000 in operator level occupations. These three technical occupations account for 64% of total employment in technical occupations within the AME sectors in England.

Employment trends
The AME sectors in England have experienced a period of major restructuring. Between 2010 to 2014, there was a net gain of nearly 56,000 jobs (+4%), compared with an increase in employment of +5% across all sectors in England.

Employment projections
Taking into account retirements, for operator, craft and technician technical roles, there is expected to be a net requirement across the AME sectors in England for 50,000 new recruits (10,000 per annum) in these occupations between 2016-2020.

Employers in the AME sectors in England show a substantial demand for new recruits. In 2013, it is estimated that 16% of AME establishments in England had vacancies compared to 15% of establishments across all sectors. In total, there were 16,000 technical vacancies across the AME sectors in England. In terms of specific occupations, it is estimated that there were vacancies for 2,200 operators, 7,200 craftspersons and 1,700 technicians.

Over half of all AME vacancies in England were from SMEs (50-249 employees).

It is estimated that 7% of AME employers in England had hard-to-fill vacancies. Half of all hard-to-fill vacancies were in craft, technician and operator occupations. Skill shortages in applicants were the main reason for these hard-to-fill vacancies.

Drivers of skills change
The AME sectors felt that the main drivers of future skills requirements would be new legislative or regulatory requirements, introduction of new technologies or equipment, development of new products and services, introduction of new working practices and increased competitive pressure. Large and medium-sized employers were most likely to expect a change in their skills needs from the key drivers identified.

Craftspersons, operators and technicians were among the occupations most likely to be affected by the need to acquire new skills or knowledge.

Skill needs and gaps
17% of AME establishments in England reported skills gaps. The incidence of skills gaps increases by size of establishment, ranging from 10% of micro-sized establishments to 49% of large establishments.

It is estimated that 5% of the AME workforce in England have skills gaps. The main reason for skills gaps in the AME sectors is a lack of experience/being recently recruited.

The main skills cited as lacking in employees were technical, practical or job specific skills (approximately three quarters of establishments reporting skills gaps). Employers were most likely to have technical skills gaps with craft, operator and technician occupations.

The other main skills gaps highlighted include problem solving, team working, oral communications and management skills.

The main impact of skills gaps were increased workload for other staff, increased operating costs, difficulties meeting quality standards and difficulties introducing new working practices. The main action taken to overcome skills gaps by AME employers was to increase training activity/spend or increase/expand trainee programmes.

Operator/semi-skilled occupations

• 137,000 operators are employed in technical roles in the AME sectors in England

Key occupations

Key operator level occupations include: assemblers (vehicles and metal goods); metalworking machine operatives; assemblers (electrical and electronic products); routine inspectors and testers; assemblers and routine operatives and plant and machine operatives.

Demographic profile for operators
Female: 19%
Age 16-24: 8%
Age 60+: 14%
Have any disability: 10%
Ethnicity (non-white): 8%
Proportion of total employment: 10%

• It is estimated that in there were 2,200 operator vacancies across the AME sectors in England in 2013.

Skills gaps
• 4% of AME establishments in England had skills gaps for operators.
• 7% of operators had skills gaps.

Future skills demand
• 13,500 operators (2,700 per annum) are required into the AME sectors in England over the period 2016-2020.

The Intermediate Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture framework has been developed to address critical skills gaps and shortages as detailed above and contains seven pathways:
Pathway 1 Aerospace
Pathway 2 Marine (Ship, Yacht, Boat building, maintenance and repair)
Pathway 3 Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering
Pathway 4 Engineering Maintenance and Installation
Pathway 5 Fabrication and Welding
Pathway 6 Materials Processing and Finishing
Pathway 7 Engineering Technical Support

These frameworks are key to addressing the skills needs and gaps highlighted. The framework in its old NQF format has a proven track record, with a consistent 8,000 apprentice starts per year. The new QCF format will allow greater tailoring of qualifications to meet employers skills needs, so higher take-up levels are anticipated.

Craft/technician occupations
• 292,000 crafts-person and 58,000 technicians are employed in technical roles in the AME sectors in England.

Key occupations
• Key technician level occupations include: engineering technicians; laboratory technicians; draughtspersons and science, engineering and production technicians.

• Key craft level occupations include: metal working production and maintenance fitters; welding trades; electricians and electrical fitters; vehicle technicians and aircraft maintenance and related trades.

Demographic profile for engineering craftspersons
Female: 2%
Age 16-24: 11%
Age 60+: 15%
Have any disability: 11%
Ethnicity (non-white): 4%
Proportion of total employment: 20%

Demographic profile for engineering technicians
Female: 8%
Age 16-24: 9%
Age 60+: 12%
Have any disability: 8%
Ethnicity (non-white): 5%
Proportion of total employment: 4%

• It is estimated that there were 7,200 craftsperson vacancies and 1,700 technician vacancies across the AME sectors in England in 2013.

Skills gaps
• 6% of AME establishments had skills gaps for craftspersons and 2% had skills gaps for technicians.
• 6% of craftspersons and 8% of technicians had skills gaps.

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture framework has been developed to address critical skills gaps and shortages as detailed above and contains fourteen pathways:
Pathway 1: Aerospace
Pathway 2: Marine (Ship building. maintenance and repair)
Pathway 3: Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering
Pathway 4: Marine (Yacht and boat building, maintenance and repair)
Pathway 5: Engineering Maintenance
Pathway 6: Fabrication and Welding
Pathway 7: Materials Processing and Finishing
Pathway 8: Engineering Technical Support
Pathway 9: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Pathway 10: Installing and Commissioning
Pathway 11: Engineering Toolmaking
Pathway 12: Automotive
Pathway 13: Engineering Woodworking, Pattern making and Model Making
Pathway 14: Engineering Leadership

These pathways are key to addressing the skills gaps and needs identified.

Future skills demand
• Approximately 30,000 craftspersons (6,000 per annum) and 6,000 technicians (1,200 per annum) are required into the AME sectors in England over the period 2016-2020.

The Engineering Manufacture framework at Level 2 and Level 3 covers a broad range of engineering sub-sectors such as: Automotive, Aerospace, Electronics, Mechanical, Marine, Electrical, Metal goods and Other Transport Equipment. It is designed to provide the skills, knowledge and competence requirements through specific sub-sector pathways to operate at operator, semi-skilled, craft or technician level within these areas.

The engineering sector has a long tradition of offering apprenticeship frameworks as a means of meeting the skills requirements for its sector. The framework has kept pace with technological change within each of the sub-sectors and remains highly relevant to their skills training needs. Alongside the technology pathways are the traditional craft skills generally associated with the 'mature' sub-sectors such as welding and fabrication and engineering maintenance.

The framework has been designed to address the skills gaps and shortages identified, and address an ageing workforce, by attracting young people into the engineering industry and providing them with the skills, knowledge and experience which employers are seeking. In addition the Apprenticeship provides a progression route that the existing workforce can use to up-skill themselves to meet the technical, economic and environmental changes.

There are a very significant range of job titles, roles and occupations within the scope of this framework at both Level 2 and Level 3, but generally operator, semi-skilled and craft roles are more common within the more mature sub-sectors and technician roles in the leading edge sub-sectors.




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Engineering Manufacture (England)
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