Dyson warns of shortage of engineers in Britain


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The Independent Online

Sir James Dyson yesterday warned the country will face a desperate shortage of engineers "unless something drastic is done".

The inventor behind the vacuum cleaner group Dyson, which will today post record results as it continues to shrug off tough consumer market conditions, warned that companies will begin to move their engineering facilities abroad if the current graduation trends continue.

About 22,000 engineering students graduate every year, he said before continuing: "But there are 37,000 vacancies this year, and that will soon go up to 200,000."

He has long supported the introduction of design and technology into the school curriculum at an earlier age to reduce the skills gap. He has urged the Government to provide grants to engineering students. Yet, despite "excellent universities and excellent programmes" the UK is suffering a dual problem, he said.

Not enough British students are in programmes and 80 per cent of post graduates are from outside the EU, who take skills away with them.

Dyson itself has committed tohiring more graduates, and doubling its engineers at the R&D centre in Malmsbury to 700. It now employs 2,700 across the group.

Profits rose from £190m in 2009 to £206m a year later, its most successful one yet, as its bladeless fans, vacuum cleaners and hand dryers continued to sell strongly.

"It surprised us at the beginning of 2008 that despite the recession... we continued to increase our sales," Sir James said "Yet, people need vacuum cleaners and if you have good technology they will buy it," he said.