A MAJOR engineering group is calling for reform to the Government’s flagship apprenticeship scheme to ensure the right skills are being provided to boost economic growth.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) says that rebalancing the UK’s economy will require qualified, skilled engineers and technicians at all levels.

It is calling on the Government “not to simply play a numbers game" but to ensure that money is invested in apprenticeship programmes that will be central to economic recovery, such as engineering and technology.

The warning coincided with a report from the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, which also called for urgent reform to apprenticeships.

Paul Davies, IET head of policy, said: “The UK has seen welcome growth and investment in apprenticeships in the last few years. However, standards must be maintained and the training should be better monitored in order to provide the skills needed to boost economic growth.

“Young people and their parents must be confident that the career path they choose will lead to a real job and exciting opportunities. We need to promote the fact that a high-quality apprenticeship can be just the beginning of a rewarding engineering career.

“Companies need to provide clear career progression routes through further education, experience and training to enable the best to meet the needs of the business and to reach the heights of the engineering profession.”

The IET also believes reform is needed to ensure that schools promote all engineering career routes, including apprenticeships.