British engineering skills in crisis according to shipbuilder Cammell Laird
To counter the shortage in skilled workforce, Cammell Laird has tied up with a local college with an apprenticeship schemeReuters

Cammell Laird, a privately held shipbuilder in the country, has indicated a dearth of engineering skills in the UK. It has warned that this could make it difficult for the company to grow as it is struggling to replace its experienced staff who are about to retire.

In the results filed at the Companies House, Cammell Laird said its growth plans could be in jeopardy. "There is both a local and national shortage of skilled tradesmen and management. While the company has been able to manage the growth achieved to date, this is becoming increasingly difficult. In addition, a large percentage of the white and blue-collar workforces are near retirement age and it is becoming increasingly difficult to replace them with people of similar experience and qualifications," the company said.

To counter this shortage in skilled workforce, the Birkenhead-headquartered company that is 75% owned by Peel Ports, a private UK company with businesses across real estate, media, and transport, said it had tied up with a local college with an apprenticeship scheme. The company believed this could create enough skilled workers to meet the current orders as well as fulfil future growth plans.

At the end of the 2015 financial year, the company had 870 staff, while it now has 140 staff including those in its training programme.

In November 2015, Juergen Maier, UK CEO of Siemens, had said that the country needed the European Union to fill the skills and vocational training gap, as Britain's education system could not do the same.

Cammell Laird, which posted a 5% increase in annual revenues at £114m (€154m, $168.3m) for the year ending 31 March, recently finished work on some major sections of aircraft carriers belonging to the Royal Navy, reports The Telegraph.

Its revenues got a boost in 2015 because of certain contracts such as refits on the Navy's support vessels Fort Victoria, Orangleaf and Diligence, part of a five-year contract agreed in 2013 to support nine of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's 13 vessels. However, the company had said that its revenues are likely to decline going forward because of a slowdown in work.