June 2017 has been a big month for the engineering and manufacturing industry. Reports and surveys have been produced reviewing the first six months in the sector and show that manufacturing demand is at the highest it has been for decades, despite the results of the EU Referendum and recent General Election. There’s been continuous good news in the sector, as Rolls-Royce announces significant UK investments, which brings hope to engineering employment in the UK. June 2017 has also been a significant month for events such as the launch of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as International Women in Engineering Day, which aims to encourage women to join the engineering industry.
To ensure that you’re up to date with the latest engineering and manufacturing news, we have created a bitesize roundup of all of the biggest stories from June 2017 for you to enjoy.
Manufacturing Demand at Highest Level Since 80’s
A recent Industrial Trends Survey conducted by CBI has shown that the order books of UK manufacturers are at the highest they’ve been since the 80’s – nearly two decades ago.
Despite the concern that Brexit and the recent General Election raised for the future of UK manufacturing, the country has continued to see positivity and increased demand.
The survey explored the order books of almost 500 UK manufacturing companies and found that their totals had climbed to the highest level since August 1988. Export orders have also significantly improved, and are one of the highest in 22 years.
However, the future of pricing within the market still remains unsure, with manufacturers bracing themselves for potential change.
CBI chief economist, Rain Newton-Smith said: ‘Britain’s manufacturers are continuing to see demand for “Made in Britain goods rise with the temperature. Total and export order books are at highs not seen for decades, and output growth remains robust.
‘Nevertheless, with cost pressures remaining elevated it’s no surprise to see that manufacturers continue to have high expectations for the prices they plan to charge.’
International Women in Engineering Day
As everyone in the industry will probably be aware, the 23rd June 2017 marked the annual International Women in Engineering Day.
Despite engineering being one of the more popular careers in the UK, we are still facing a significant skills shortage in the industry, with the latest stats from the Office of National Statistics showing that women still only make up around just 8% of engineers.
Research from Engineering UK has found that this skills shortage is critical, with an additional 1.8 million engineers needed by 2025 to close the skills gap. Past president of the IET, Naomi Climer, has said: ‘One way to improve the pipeline would be to persuade more women and minority groups that engineering could be a great career choice for them.’
The UK currently has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, however, there are more and more initiatives being put in place by the government and UK manufacturing companies to ensure that more women and girls becoming involved in engineering.
The Dyson School of Design Engineering has been working hard to improve the number of women that attend their school, and for the first time can confirm that they will be welcoming 33 female students and 30 male students into their school.
Though there is still a long way to go, it’s great to see that more is being done to engage more women in engineering, and for those who so decide to join the male-dominated industry, there could be huge rewards to be reaped.
HMS Queen Elizabeth Launches
The ship is the UK’s first new QE Class aircraft carrier and has begun its journey from Rosyth.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to spend 6 weeks at sea to test the ship’s abilities, as well as understand weapons trials in order to determine its readiness. Following these sea trials, the ship will then head back to Rosyth before undertaking testing which will test mission systems and combat systems.
The future flagship carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes, is 280m long, and consists of more than 220 cameras monitoring the engine and machinery spaces.
The ship’s sister counterpart, HMS Prince of Wales is also currently in the outfitting phase of its programme. The Class is an integral part of Britain’s maritime capability and the UK’s carrier strike capability. It is expected to significantly improve the UK’s role around the world, enabling us to work on operations from high-intensity warfighting to providing disaster aid.
HMS Queen Elizabeth has been described as representing ‘the best of the UK’s industrial and engineering expertise.’ 51 million hours went into designing and building the ship and is made up of 17 million parts, manufactured by a workforce across the country.
Rolls-Royce Secures 7,000 Jobs After Investment
The engineering giant has announced that they have safeguarded more than 7,000 jobs in the East Midlands, following their decision to invest £150m into their UK facilities.
It will be the biggest single investment in the UK for over a decade. The company has decided to invest the majority of its money into their aerospace division in Derby, where they are planning to double engine production. This has enabled the company to safeguard 7,000 jobs for the next five years.
Rolls-Royce has also decided not to close their precision machining facility in Derby, which was planned to shut down, which has saved about 150 jobs.
Eric Schulz, president of the civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, has said: ‘With this investment, we are creating the capacity and flexibility to deliver on our goals while committing to sustain employment in the UK and I would like to thank the unions for their support in delivering this important package of investment.’
We hope you enjoyed reading about the biggest stories in the engineering and manufacturing industries from June 2017. We will be back again at the beginning of July to give you some more of the latest news. Until then, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn where we post daily updates. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out how our engineering services can help you.