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Tackling the shortage of skilled engineering workers is “fundamental” to the success of the Government’s flagship industrial strategy, ministers are being told.

Research by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) among 800 employers found that three out of five believed trying to recruit suitably qualified staff was a barrier to their business prospects.

Most of those surveyed said digital technologies and automation will advance rapidly over the next few years in engineering.

Joanna Cox, head of policy at the IET, said: “As the UK goes through a period of economic uncertainty, the skills shortage in engineering remains an ongoing concern for engineering companies.

“Employers tell us that tackling this problem is fundamental to making the Government’s industrial strategy viable.”

The study also found that fewer than one in seven firms made efforts to recruit women.

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