Studies have recently revealed that the UK could soon experience a significant skills gap for electricians. It has been shown that even if the number of qualifying electricians increased by 33% between 2020 and 2022, this would still result in a shortage of 10,000 electricians by 2023.
There are a number of both supply and demand factors that are believed to be contributing to this. First of all, not as many people are training to be electricians as they were in the past. Secondly, the demand for skilled electricians is intensifying. Finally, fewer electricians are entering the workforce compared to the number of retiring. Overall, the electrical trade is experiencing a decline in both skill and talent.
The findings were commissioned in a report by the chair of The Electrical Skills Partnership, Ruth Devine. She comments that “The TESP survey – the first of its kind in over a decade – offers not only a useful snapshot of where the electrotechnical industry and its skills-base are now but also a vital insight into the scale of the challenges we face in the immediate future. The organizations which form TESP all have a crucial part to play in shaping and coordinating the industry’s response to these challenges, and the priorities for action defined in the survey report represent an important first step. Future success will, however, also hinge on the active participation and support of other stakeholders, including Government departments and agencies, clients, training providers, other sector bodies and of course individual businesses – especially the small and micro businesses who make up our industry’s core.”
One reason why there may be a higher demand for electricians in the future is the emergence of e-mobility. This refers to things like electric vehicles, e-scooters, and electric bikes. As both domestic and commercial demand for such devices rises, there will need to be a parallel increase in infrastructure.
Electric cars are particularly popular. Still, supply cannot keep up with demand, meaning many owners have to wait excessively for installation. Additionally, the increase in renewable energy sources like wind turbines will require installation and ongoing maintenance into the future.
Contrastingly, it was shown in August 2019 that interest in electrical careers here in the UK could be rising, the result of a study undertaken by Aspect.co.uk, provider of domestic and commercial electricians. It looked into the number of inquiries through Google regarding electrical careers. Specifically, the frequency of search terms such as “electrical apprenticeships” and “electrician training near me” that were made on the day that UK’s A-level results were published. This goes to suggest that interest in electrics as a career hasn’t completely stagnated as students were making these searches on the day they received their final school grades.
Director of Operations at property maintenance specialists Aspect, Nick Bizley, says that “There’s currently a skills gap in the construction sector generally, so it’s encouraging to see that people are interested in apprenticeships and training in the skilled trades. It’s interesting too that there appears to be a spike in interest in and around A-Level results day.
“This suggests that students are exploring their options more widely, which is always a good sign. If young people are taking A-levels and then considering an apprenticeship or vocational training, they’re equipping themselves for a rewarding and very worthy career. Good for them.”