Manufacturing grows in the UK, firms struggle to find skilled workers

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The UK manufacturing sector grew by 4 percent in the 12 months leading to June 2010, twice the amount of the financial sector during the same period. But over 500 jobs remain unfilled.

Employers are complaining that the regional workforce do not have the skills to fill these positions, with those who do possess the skills working abroad.

The manufacturing sector is coming out of a downturn that was relatively short-lived.

"A year ago, we were in serious trouble," said a Sembcorp employee. "Since then, things have started to pick up a bit."

Many companies are struggling to fill posts, including Elring Klinger, an engineering firm based out of Kirkleatham. During the recession the company was forced to lay off 50 workers. Now that the UK is starting to come out of the recession, the firm is finding it unexpectedly difficult to refill their ranks.

Between now and 2016, approximately 11,000 new workers will be needed in manufacturing, engineering, and science, according to research by Semta, the sector skills council.

The planned immigration cap will likely make it more difficult for firms to find the help they need, although many are expected to take advantage of Tier 2 visas to shore up skills gaps.