Plugging the skills gap

EXPERTS are planning a conference to start a fightback against skills shortages.

The North East Process Industry Cluster, which represents firms in the process industry including those at Seal Sands, has organised the event in reaction to recent newspaper headlines such as “82,000 staff needed to plug engineering and manufacturing skills gap” and “UK workforce shortage warning.”

NEPIC chief executive Dr Stan Higgins said: “Businesses must respond to recent headlines about skills shortages in our region. If companies want to help improve this situation then they must surely send a representative to this skills conference”.

Dr Higgins said all sectors from chemicals to polymers, and aerospace to subsea, would be “experiencing the impact of skills shortages”.

He added: “We need all North East businesses to respond to this agenda and do their bit in both taking on apprentices and providing work placements for graduates. If they do this

they will solve the skill shortage.

“By participating in the various skills schemes, companies can interface with some of the best young talent in the region.”

Dr Higgins said that, if every technical business took just one apprentice every couple of years, “we would not have this problem looming ahead of us”.

The NEPIC Skills Conference will be held on Wednesday, February 13, at Ramside Hall in Durham.

To find out more including starting times, visit