Shedding the stereotype of engineers having a “spanner and oily overalls” has been a big goal of the sector over the past few years, and it seems like it’s finally lifting. Not only have increasing numbers of young people chosen careers that revolve around creating technology and making things, but it seems as though bankers are also eyeing up the potential to invest.
From creating innovative digital technology, to being looked at by deal-makers the world over, we’ve found a number of articles over the past month that celebrate the global significance of our tech industry. It looks like there’s a lot to shout about!
UK Engineers are Creating Technology of ‘Global Significance’
We already knew that the UK engineering sector was world class, but now even more ‘ordinary’ people who read the news will be aware of it too. Last month, the winner of the MacRobert Award made it onto the BBC for their digital hydraulic power system – a far cry from the “oily overalls” stereotype.
Artemis Intelligence Power scooped the top spot, winning £50,000 for their digital technology that’s set to replace the mechanical gearbox in conventional turbines. It can also be used to generate less noise and reduce fuel consumption in public transport by as much as 10%.
Chairwoman of the judging panel, Dame Sue Ion, told the BBC that Artemis has “achieved a technical advance of global importance”.
It isn’t the first time that the MacRobert Award panel have spied technology that can be sifted out globally. Last year’s winner, SME Cobalt Light Systems, has already rolled out their security liquid scanner across 65 airports in Europe.
The catalytic convertor and CT scanner are also past MacRobert champions.
Foreign Investors Snapping Up Our Engineering Expertise
Bankers and stockbrokers alike are eyeing up potential investments in UK engineering capabilities, after realising the innovation and high-tech creations that are used the world over.
The past six months have seen a number of foreign companies buying engineering expertise from Britain. Colorado-based Ball bought can-maker Rexam for £4.3bn earlier this year, and more recently the chemicals group Alent was picked out by America’s Platform.
Rothschild banker, Ravi Gupta, who advised on the purchases, believes that the flurry of deals shows that other countries are deliberately turning to Britain for our expertise.
He told the Telegraph that the driving reason behind the deals is the need for growth, which is very possible (and indeed likely) with UK engineering companies, who are constantly expanding due to their new discoveries and products.
More Work Coming to the UK
As well as foreign investors buying British companies, it’s also working vice versa and bringing more work into the UK.
Blue-chip engineer GKN recently announced it was snapping up Dutch aerospace group Fokker for £500m. Aerospace is the second-largest division of the FTSE-100 listed company, so the idea is to combine the expertise of both GKN and Fokker to create a wider range of aircraft parts.
Bringing together the two companies’ experience in wiring systems is an area that’s definitely likely to yield growth in the future. Instead of traditional wires, fibre optics could also be used throughout structural parts of aircraft to make them lighter.
The UK engineering industry is evidently thriving at home and abroad, as foreign investors recognise British innovation and progress. Likewise, UK companies investing in overseas expertise shows that the sector is expected to grow even more.
With the move from mechanical equipment to more high-tech and digital innovations, it looks like the “spanner and oily overalls” stereotype is set to stay in the past!
As far as we’re concerned, that’s a huge step forward, as here at ICS many of our clients are established engineers, so it’s fantastic to see the industry doing so well. If you’re a contractor in the engineering industry, then you too can use ICS as your specialist contractor accountants. We can help with the burden of administrative tasks whilst you also benefit from taking home a greater percentage of your monthly salary. Because we work with them so regularly, our contractor services are perfect for engineers; especially if you’re seeing a flurry of work from our world-renowned industry. For more details, contact us by calling 0800 195 3750 or talk to us on the chat box and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.