Professor Brian Cox is worried the UK is lagging behind other countries when it comes to finding and nurturing talent in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects.
The physicist said it paints a bleak picture for the UK's future.
"What's at risk is our economy. The health of the country. The figures are frightening. In engineering alone we need one million more qualified engineers at all levels, from apprenticeships to phd, by 2020, that's six years!"
Speaking with Vince Cable at the St Paul's Way Trust school in East London, he went on to warn: "There's a big demographic problem in engineering a lot of engineers are old, they are all retiring now, so that has to be filled."