An open letter to government: 2014 is the year of action

Dear members of HM Government,

As representatives of the UK’s engineering industry, we write to you with a list of requests and suggestions. If we are to safeguard the future of our industry and continue to inspire and lead on an international platform, we feel the Government has a critical role to play alongside institutions and industry.

There is a vast amount of work that needs to be done within the school curriculum to educate and inspire our young people and make clear the career paths available in the engineering industry. This needs to be part of a sustained programme from all stakeholder groups to ensure that every new generation has a skilled and motivated engineering workforce to drive the industry forward.

In the short term, it is a matter of delivering the right message and better promotion. As the most powerful voice with the widest audience, the Government needs to be totally united and consistent on its messaging about the industry. There is an opportunity to be much better at promoting the successes of British engineering, the diversity of career options available and the amount of training available to experienced engineers to allow them to continue to develop their skills. More than anything, there is a real need to engage with the existing engineering community and shine a spotlight on our industry’s ambassadors.

Smaller engineering companies also need your support, as there is an incredible amount of innovation taking place away from the big brands. These SMEs and smaller businesses are contributing significantly to our country’s engineering credentials and ever-developing skill set, but as yet there is little being done to raise their profile.

We feel the time for ‘review’ is now over and 2014 needs to be the year of action. Matchtech’s Confidence Index 2013 suggests that UK engineers are concerned about the Government’s ability to secure the future of their industry:

• Three quarters of British engineers surveyed lack confidence in the Government’s action to encourage innovation in the UK
• Over half would be willing to move abroad for work
• Nearly two thirds believe the UK will cease to be an engineering world leader in the future

We urge you to address some of the points above and we are willing to work in consultation with you as representatives from:

Keith Lewis, Managing Director, Matchtech
Mark Edwards, Operations Director of Engineering, Matchtech
Paul Jackson, CEO, EngineeringUK
Jon Excell, Editor, The Engineer
Neil Hughes, Owner, Talenteer Limited
Dr Sarah Main, Director of Campaign for Science & Engineering (CaSE)
Dr Joanne Elloway, Strategy Manager, The New Engineering Foundation (NEF)

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