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Sector Overview
Picture of Chemist with glass flasksThe industries served by Cogent range from the highly strategic nuclear industry, to the world-leading pharmaceuticals industry. Many parts of the sector are incubators of new technologies, particularly chemicals which is the home of industrial biotechnology and also polymers, which is seeing a tremendous growth in composites and associated applications.

Other parts of the sector, particularly oil and gas and petroleum generate significant wealth and support our self-sufficiency in energy fuels. Overall the sector is worth £156bn.

Skills picture
All parts of these industries have the deployment of higher level and technical skills at the heart of their business.

Workforces are dominated by professional and technical occupations, with many people developing  skills “on the job” as they have progressed through their careers.

These are skills which are not always accredited, and Cogent is working with the National Skills Academies for Process Industries and for Nuclear to put in place systems which recognise this experience.

Ageing workforce: With an ageing workforce, the sector needs to continue to recruit young people to undertake the core technical roles in the workforce. Cogent estimates that there will be a demand for approximately 24,000 plant operatives over the next 10 years.

Cogent’s research shows the gap between the skills required and the qualifications people hold, and highlights a pressing need to upskill managers and  operators.

Stock and flow of people: We are working with employers to bring young people in  through apprenticeships and from university, and to upskill and re-skill the current workforce.

High level skills To maintain their leading edge, the Cogent industries recruit up to 4,000 graduates every year, 45% of which are from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The importance of employer engagement with Higher Education (HE)  has been emphasised in a range of policy papers from Government, (such as Skills for Growth and Higher Ambitions). Cogent has developed a strategy for Higher Education, that will mean our industries are well-placed for such partnership.

Indeed the needs of employers in the Cogent Sector are currently mirrored by a large number of policy areas. In particular New Industry New Jobs, launched into 2009, places our industries right at the heart of future UK economic success, particular in relation to the Low Carbon, Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing agendas.

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