Vocational qualifications in engineering enjoyed a record number of certifications in the first quarter of the year according to new figures from Semta, the sector skills council for manufacturing.
The total number of certifications of national vocational qualifications in engineering awarded in the UK as a whole during the first three months of the year was the highest to date, Semta said, with an increase of 15% over the same period in 2009.
Registrations for N/SVQs in Scotland fell in the first quarter but Semta said this was due to an exceptional level of registrations in 2009.
Winners included Level 2 courses in business improvement techniques, and Level 3 qualifications in aeronautical engineering, installation and commissioning and engineering technical support.
Semta said the new data illustrated the fact that employers were prepared to invest in their workforces through more vocational training, despite the tough economic climate. Business improvement techniques courses enjoyed a surge in popularity due to their impact on the bottom line of engineering businesses, the organisation said.
According to Semta, some 10,000 new scientists and engineers will be required each year until between now and 2016. Semta said it had helped drive up qualification demand through initiatives such as the sector funding compact which had seen training plans created for 1,300 companies, supported by £80 million in funding from Train to Gain. Semta has launched a new “Skills Connector” service that lets it connect with employers either face-to-face or online, in order to improve access to quality training.
Philip Whiteman, chief executive, said: “We must ensure that every employee can be developed to their full potential as we need a highly-skilled and adaptable workforce, particularly to support advanced manufacturing, life sciences, green and emerging technologies.
“These opportunities are out there for companies who have weathered the downturn, but they need world-class skills to remain competitive.
“Vocational qualifications such as business improvement techniques are capable of making the biggest impacts on the bottom line. Businesses working with Semta’s National Skills Academy for Manufacturing have seen, on average, a 6:1 ratio of return on their investment in skills, helping many of them survive the downturn.”