What does the future hold for the engineering and technology industry?

What does the future hold for the  engineering and technology industry?

As a global leader in combustion controls and technology, Energy Technology & Control offer an assured choice.  However, it’s impossible to deny that the engineering and technology landscape is undergoing a period of change; we want to use this news update to explain some of the changes.

The vote to leave the EU has caused a lot of uncertainty and a lot of conversation within not only the engineering and technology industries, but the country as a whole. The following piece will look at what the current state of flux means for the industry, focusing on the potentials for gain.

New opportunities

If we look upon Brexit favourably, it could be seen as a rare opportunity. An opportunity which provides the UK with the chance to set free its trade and commerce.

Boris Johnson gave a very positive speech upon the announcement he had secured the top job as PM. He denied that it was Brexit itself which was harming industries in the UK, instead blaming the ongoing uncertainty and the Government’s “refusal to take decisions”.

Johnson praised the technology sector, labelling it as ‘a symbol of British greatness’. He believes that as we prepare for a post-Brexit future, it is time we look not at the risks but at the opportunities.

The first step – countering uncertainty

The Confederation of British Industry has drawn up a manifesto for the new Prime Minister, a manifesto which calls for swift action to demonstrate that the UK remains a reliable and trusted place to do business. In this time of uncertainty the UK needs to be direct and outspoken, delivering an economic plan for the future – with emphasis on skills, infrastructure, innovation and trade – and support for business.

Skills

If Brexit leads to the labour movement being restricted, then the immediate effect will be a more desperate need for home-grown skills and talent in the UK.

If it is not viable to recruit skills from within the EU, businesses will need to find innovative new ways to recruit from a wider pool of talent. This may be a positive in fact, driving investment and interest in developing engineering and technology talent through new courses and programmes.  New routes into the industry should become an area of focus, as the apprenticeship levy scheme is likely to be put on hold when the UK exits the EU.

Infrastructure

If the UK closes its borders, the engineering and technology industry will feel the pinch. The prediction that it could potentially take a decade to agree and set new trade agreements is a cause for concern.

Engineering is estimated to underpin a fifth of UK gross value added accounting for half of all exports. Brexit, simply put, amounts to a renegotiation of the relationship with our biggest trading partner. This amounts to an unrivalled opportunity. Engineers are renowned for their ‘can do’ attitude, concentrating on how to deliver improvements. While there is unquestionably a need to address issues surrounding skills and diversity, it should also be recognised that UK engineering enjoys an incredibly strong reputation for excellence in many parts of the world. A reputation which provides a solid and substantial platform to build upon.  

Innovation

At this time of flux, the UK needs to reinforce its role as a thought leader and centre of excellence in innovation. UK talent is responsible for some of the biggest and most memorable innovations of this century; the worldwide web, the jet engine, even the world’s first bionic hand.  With the right direction, investment and forethought, Britain’s reputation for invention and creativity can continue to inspire.

Trade

An obvious and fairly immediate impact of the referendum has been the Sterling’s rapid depreciation against other currencies. While in the longer term this is concerning, it can also be viewed as a short term opportunity as it in fact makes UK exports cheaper. Therefore buying British goods becomes more attractive to foreign purchasers who suddenly realise their currency will go a lot further than in previous years. Initially this might mean we are giving other countries a bargain when we can’t really afford to, but this will give Britain a short term boost.

Support for business

The effects of the Brexit vote have led to an endless number of predictions from strategists. Global consulting firm Roland Berger are on record stating that: “Leaving the EU would on balance be expected to have a damaging effect on both international trade terms and FDI attractiveness, particularly in the near term. The Engineering and technology sector requires continuous investment decisions if it is to retain its international position, and so will shrink throughout this near term.”

UK engineering already competes successfully in the global marketplace. It has the talent and reputation needed to grow even stronger in world markets if given the right conditions and support.

In summary

Testing times are on the horizon for the sector. Estimations concerning the potential cost of Brexit continue to dominate the headlines and unease is rife, especially across the engineering and technology industry. An industry which is heavily reliant on attracting overseas workers from both inside, and outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

However Brexit is going to happen, the writing is on the wall in that respect, the secret is to ensure it delivers positive advancements for the engineering and technology trades as well as the country as a whole. This is a new chapter for engineering and technology, a chapter which has the potential to be bigger and better. Predictions for the next half decade could be very exciting, the engineering and technology industries need to remain positive in times of uncertainty and continue doing what they do best, delivering.

To find out how Energy Technology & Control can help your business achieve its goals, contact our team today.