I'm currently sitting in the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) automotive summit.

It's an annual event where the UK's car industry trade body pulls together the great and the good from the global car industry as well as a smattering of UK politicians.

As you may expect, the overall news is good. The UK industry is largely on a roll. Now 80 per cent of cars made here are exported and half of those go beyond Europe to markets such as China and the USA.

The value of those cars has also doubled in the past few years too, largely thanks to the numbers of luxury and premium cars we're making here and selling abroad.

One overriding theme that emerged, though, is a concern for the future. Not because we can't sustain this success but a concern about how we're going to get young people into the industry.

There simply aren't enough engineers and other skilled people coming through the system. Not enough people are studying core subjects such as electronic engineering at university. In fact, our universities are currently churning out about half the number of engineers we actually need.

A sobering fact came from Ian Harnett, purchasing director at Jaguar Land Rover. Out of a department which is now 1200-strong he has 109 vacancies that he's struggling to fill. This situation is reflected in his organisation and in the wider UK industry.

There are talented youngsters out there and we at Autocar know it better than most through running our annual Autocar Courland Next Generation Award. There just aren't enough youngsters who just 'want to make things'. 

It strikes me that the government and educational establishments need to get on top of this before it's too late.