A new report from the UK engineering profession backs the Government’s focus on industrial strategy but warns that Brexit must not restrict access to engineering skills from across Europe.
The Royal Academy of Engineering said its report Engineering a future outside the EU: securing the best outcome for the UK is intended to inform Government of the issues that impact on the country’s engineering performance as negotiates terms for leaving the EU.
The Hinkley C project could suffer from an engineering skills shortage
The report highlights the challenge that Brexit could present to the supply of skilled engineers from the EU. It argues that uncertainty about the status of EU workers in the UK and further risks to the supply of skilled engineers are likely to result in delays to major infrastructure projects such as HS2, Thames Tideway and Hinkley Point C.
The report was compiled by an alliance of the UK's professional engineering organisations, including the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).
Sue Percy, CIHT chief executive, said: ‘The skills shortage issue is a serious one that has the potential to undermine the Industry’s ability to deliver the key infrastructure projects that are underway or in the pipeline, as well as the on-going maintenance work required to keep our transport infrastructure fit for purpose.
'Engineering the Future is a key alliance of the professional engineering institutions and national organisations from across the sector.
'CIHT is working as part of this collaboration to highlight the vital role that will be played by our industry professionals in a post-Brexit UK. The key findings in “Engineering the Future outside the EU” provide a number of practical recommendations for the UK Government if it hopes to limit the impact of a further reduction of the skilled professionals needed to deliver planned infrastructure which includes the supply of skilled engineers from the EU.'
The report also highlights the importance of innovation to the economy and warns that losing access to EU research and innovation funding programmes would ‘pose a considerable risk to the quality and quantity of UK research and innovation’.