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To achieve its wider ambitions for growth, the UK Metals Industry will need to attract some 2,300 graduates a year and 9,200 apprentices and technicians. It will also have to retain those it already has and retrain others to acquire the specific skills required for the future. This will be challenging given the image of the industry and the dearth of both vocational training and appropriate degree-level courses.

Proposed action one: Improve the supply of candidates

To overcome the lack of potential employees, the issue needs to be addressed at all levels of education. From the school curriculum to university levels, appropriate subjects need to be taught.

The development of T Levels should provide an excellent opportunity to better align vocational learning with real-world career opportunities in the metals Industry. Standards for T Levels are being written by IfATE and are intended to be employer led, with a planned date for the introduction of T Levels for engineering and manufacturing is in 2023. It is important that the industry engages with IfATE appropriately in developing T Level standards that are relevant to industry and UKMC will support this.

Proposed action two: Focus on training opportunities

The central position of the Apprenticeship Levy has changed the focus of skills development, which is much more closely associated with varying levels of apprenticeships than previously, up to degree standard. Industry Trade Associations, which are membership-led, are well-placed to identify the differing priorities for levy and non-levy paying members to help ensure that the maximum benefit is available and advise suitably. Because apprenticeships are now wholly based on standards, companies will need significant help in aligning their skill needs with those that are appropriate.

Proposed action three: Fill the gaps in provision

There are concerns that any non-availability of Standards for apprenticeships will lead to a serious lack of support for skills development for both levy-paying and non-levy paying companies, as well as creating cost issues for those levy-paying companies who will not be able to make use of their levy payments.
Metals Industry Trade Associations will actively engage with these companies and with IfATE in such cases where standards do not yet exist. Guidance and support will need to be provided in the Trailblazer Standard preparation processes. Solutions will also need to be found in cases where standards are not deliverable because of problems with provider support or End Point Assessment.  


To encourage skills development, commitments sought from policymakers may include:

  • Working with the Metals Industry to examine and address its skills needs and reduce any future mismatch.
  • Placing greater emphasis on practical subjects, ensuring core subjects are incorporated into the curriculum and offering industry-appropriate careers advice from degree choices to vocational training.
  • Helping companies fill current gaps by making it easier for employers to seek funding and accreditation for tailored in-house training.



09/09/22 - Eade becomes the UK Metals Council’s first female Chair
One of manufacturing’s leading champions and business support professionals has been appointed as the new Chair of the UK Metals Council (UKMC).


19/07/22 - Stellar Speaker Line-up Announced for the New UK Metals Expo organised in Partnership with the UK Metals Council.
UK Metals Council is the proud partner of UK Metals Expo, the NEW free to attend event that brings the entire metals supply chain together with the engineering and manufacturing sector on 14 and 15 September at the NEC in Birmingham.


13/06/22 - UK Metals Council Welcomes UK Government Apprenticeship Reforms Article
Skills and recruitment issues are particularly challenging at present with a shortage of trained people entering the metals sector and more people retiring with specialist hard to replace skills.
UK Metals Council welcomes reforms announced by UK Government, whilst recognising that much more is needed to support the sector, which is key to levelling up, the UK circular economy for metals and the net zero supply chain.