THE town is losing out on millions of pounds worth of engineering projects due to a skills shortage.
Despite its rich engineering heritage firms have had to move work out of the town due to not being able to find workers with the right skills, according to Simon Leech branch chair of Rugby’s Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Leech said: “Businesses have told me that there is a major skills shortage. In the fields of manufacturing and engineering in particular they cannot recruit the right people because the people who are skilled have all found employment.”
Although Mr Leech did not want to identify the firms who were struggling, he did say that he knew of at least one that was sending jobs out of the area. Rugby engineering firm Converteam, who build engines for the Royal Navy, declined to comment but did confirm they had not have to sent any work out of town.
Mark Pawsey MP said there was an urgent need for more engineering apprentices across the UK
“It’s appalling that companies here in Rugby have been placed in this position. I see it as a failure of the Labour government to invest in skills for manufacturing,” he said.
“We now find ourselves with a major ‘engineering skills gap’ with a need for 580,000 new skilled workers to meet demand over the next few years. This problem is not unique to Rugby. We need more engineering students and continued incentives for universities to run the courses.”
In last week’s budget the Government announced that a further 50,000 apprenticeship places were to be created on top on the 75,000 already announced.
Mr Pawsey added: “I am confident that the apprenticeships programme and the government’s commitment to manufacturing technology will show ambitious engineers that Rugby is a major destination for industry. We have a heritage in manufacturing which we are proud of.”