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Education and Training

Key statistics:

  • there is an oversupply of people qualified to Level 1 compared to the number of jobs at that level
  • there is a 22% surplus of people qualified at S/NVQ Level 1
  • 25% more people qualified to S/NVQ Level 2 and 3 are required
  • Level 2 and 3 occupations account for 58% of the workforce
  • the Pharmaceuticals and the Oil and Gas industries currently employ the largest majority of higher skilled workers, with 61% and 48% of workers skilled to level 4 or above, respectively

The comparison between the qualification profile and the occupational skill level profile of the workforce shows a mismatch between the level of qualifications held by the workforce and the skills level at which they are employed to operate. For instance, the mismatch is significant for: the elementary workforce Level 1; skilled workforce at Level 3; and in managerial and senior official workforce at Level 5.

There is a need to concentrate on the Technician and Operator workforce through the development of qualifications and vocational training at relevant levels, and through the upskilling of the existing Cogent workforce. Although there is a range of initiatives to address skills shortages across the sector, it is suggested that there needs to be an emphasis on particular skills levels in order to meet the future needs of the sector.

Sources: Cogent LMI report 2009, Skills for Science Industries 2008 and Cogent Sector Skill Needs Assessment 2006

Apprenticeship training and recruitment

In 2007, there were approximately 400 apprentices in the sector. However, this figure is expected to rise significantly between now and 2012 with the introduction of the Cogent Big Ticket Apprenticeship programme and the work of the Skills Academies representing the Process, Nuclear and Oil and Gas. It is anticipated that the numbers may understate the flow of apprentices from the SEMTA and ECITB frameworks into the sector.

There are fewer than 32,000 apprentices expected to enter the sector between 2007 and 2022.

Source: Skills for Science Industries 2008


Graduate recruitment

The sector takes in graduates from University or after some work experience particularly from the following subject areas: Chemical Engineering/Chemical, Process & Energy Engineering; Chemistry; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Geology; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; Polymers and Textiles; and Other Materials Science.

Employers in the nuclear industry currently prefer to recruit good generalist engineers and scientists and provide specialist training in-house. Postgraduate education is therefore in competition with in-house training, which employers prefer as it is targeted and cost effective.

Key statistics:

  • there are 4,000 graduates entering the sector per year
  • between 2005-2022, there will be an estimated 68,000 graduates entering the sector
  • 1,800 STEM graduates are forecast to enter the sector per year
  • between 2005-2022, there will be an estimated 30,600 STEM graduates entering the sector

The highest number of graduates entering the Cogent sector are Chemistry graduates; almost 350 entered the sector from this discipline in 2005/06. The Chemical and Pharmaceutical industries are the largest recruiters of graduates, together with the Oil and Gas industry. The Polymer industry is the lowest recruiter of graduates, but the high level R&D elements of the Polymer industry fall into the Chemical industry.

Sources: Skills for Science Industries 2008 and Cogent Sector Skill Needs Assessment 2006