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Engineering Careers

Volume 597: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2015

Engineers have highly adaptable skills that are valuable across the whole economy. Thanks to the priority that the Government have given to nationally significant infrastructure, there has never been a better time to work or train as an engineer in Wales, or, indeed, throughout the United Kingdom.

I am delighted to note that Renishaw is developing excellent industrial links with Wales, but does the Minister agree that we need more science, technology, engineering and maths and more STEM pupils in the pipeline, so that we can make a proper effort to generate more careers in engineering?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Renishaw, which is in his constituency, is doing exceptionally well in Wales, including, I should add, in my constituency. It is providing the higher engineering skills and investment that we are seeing across the United Kingdom and beyond.

My hon. Friend makes an important point about STEM subjects. He will welcome the establishment of the STEMNET UK-wide network of volunteer ambassadors to support STEM careers. Additional funding of £6.3 million has been provided to support the network.

Wales’s output per head amounts to 70% of the United Kingdom average, which explains why we have the lowest wages in Britain yet some of the largest cuts. What is the Minister doing to ensure that we have our fair share of investment in engineering, in order to boost productivity, boost wages, and boost family incomes for once?

I am surprised to hear that question from the hon. Gentleman. After all, it was his party that left Wales the poorest part of the United Kingdom. Since then, it has become the fastest-growing part of the United Kingdom, and the UK is the fastest-growing nation in the G7. He ought to welcome that, along with the fact that wages and gross domestic household income are growing faster in Wales than in any other part of the United Kingdom. However, we will further improve both productivity and wealth through significant infrastructure spending.