The Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) this week changed its name to EngineeringUK (EUK) and set out a simplified strategy to refocus its activities on promoting investment and careers.
Chief executive Paul Jackson said the change in emphasis reflected the desire to simplify what the organisation does and how it gets its messages to the public, the media and politicians. “Engineering, the term, captures the business that we are in,” he explained. “So let’s keep it simple. It emphasises our passion for engineering − it is now written in bold and spotlighted.”
The change follows a year of work by Jackson, who joined the organisation in January, and chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver to re-engage the engineering institutions and enable EUK to add to what was already being achieved. EngineeringUK will now focus its efforts and activity around just three major themes:
- The Big Bang Fair − a week long celebration of engineering, science and technology designed to engage school children and switch them on to potential careers in engineering
- Tomorrow’s Engineers programme − a joint initiative with the Royal Academy of Engineering and designed to work with existing engineering programmes in schools but targeting hard to reach schools across the country
- The Communications Hub − making the case for engineering in the media, business and politics with four expert advisory panels covering business and industry, education and skills, careers and the profession
“A key element of the change in strategy is that we are focusing on larger activities that have an impact at the national level,” he said. “We are now not looking to do expensive small projects.”
An example of this, he explained, is the Big Bang Fair which last year involved over 50 organisations and attracted 6,500 visitors. This year the fair in Manchester is to link up with the BBC’s Brainiac series to give it even greater national exposure. Jackson said that work to increase links with nationally important organisations such as the BBC were already starting to bear fruit.
He highlighted the findings in EUK’s 2009 report into the state of UK engineering, also published this week, which found that since last year the number of members of the public who would recommend engineering as a career had risen 19% to 85%.
The research also found that 78% of the public said engineering was a “well respected profession” with 86% believing it makes a “good contribution” to society.
“The issues that engineers are now getting involved with are not the ‘nice to have’ aspect of society. It’s the engineering solutions that will change the world.”
Paul Jackson, EngineeringUK
Salaries in engineering, it added, had also continued to rise by 2.2% despite the recession. And although the short term number of graduate positions available had fallen, the outlook, it said, was positive with the median graduate starting salary now £22,500.
The report also highlighted that the political emphasis on green technologies, power supply and the need to decarbonise meant engineering had an opportunity to develop global leadership and create jobs and wealth for the UK.
“It is clear that the issues that engineers are now getting involved with are not the ‘nice to have’ aspect of society,” he said. “It’s the engineering solutions that will change the world.”
Jackson pointed out that the new focused activity meant EUK was clear about how it can best deliver to this agenda and where institutions and stakeholders should be taking the lead.
“There is, for example, no better organisation to talk about bridges in Cumbria than the ICE. Similarly there are very specific areas that the IMechE and IChemE can best cover,” he explained. “But there are many issues that cut across the disciplines and this is where we get involved.”
- See Paul Jackson’s viewpoint