Leading technology businesses, engineering bodies, and the government are to collaborate on a campaign to support growth in UK engineering businesses and promote engineering careers.

Engineering for Growth is a partner campaign led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The partners, announced today are Atkins, BAE Systems; EADS; Lucite International; Rolls-Royce; McLaren Group; National Grid; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Technology Strategy Board; Institution of Chemical Engineers; the Institution of Engineering; and Technology and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Engineering for Growth will demonstrate the economic impact and societal benefits delivered by engineering, which contributes £481bn in added value to the UK economy and employs over 5.4 million people. Crucially, Engineering for Growth and its partners will collaborate to identify and debate some of the biggest challenges facing UK engineering today and in the future. This includes addressing the engineering skills gap that will otherwise have significant consequences for the nation’s capacity for growth; ensuring that the UK has a well funded and world-class research base; and cultivating an entrepreneurial culture to help new ideas translate into marketable products and services.

One of the flagship Engineering for Growth initiatives is the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub, established to bring about a step change in the success of high-potential UK based technology businesses and their contribution to economic growth. The Enterprise Hub provides mentoring and support for start-ups and growing SMEs, and so far 70 of the UK’s top technology entrepreneurs and business professionals have pledged their time as mentors.

Other initiatives planned for Engineering for Growth include debates and roundtables addressing key issues, research into the challenges highlighted, and a programme of MP visits to some of the UK’s brightest and most promising engineering companies.

Today also sees the launch of the  Engineering for Growth  website, which acts as a central hub for partner news and Engineering for Growth activities and events. Focused on collaboration, the site also offers resources for the media and supporters such as images and industry statistics.

Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “We must do all that we can to raise awareness and debate on the urgent need to both plug the engineering skills gap and create a climate that enables research, innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish in the UK. This is the rationale behind the Engineering for Growth campaign. The support for the campaign from some of the UK’s leading businesses and institutions has been excellent. We look forward to welcoming further partners and supporters to collaborate with us as Engineering for Growth gains momentum over the coming months”.

Business Secretary the Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable said: “Engineers are the perfect example of the sort of high-skilled, long term jobs we want to encourage, jobs that will be critical to growing the British economy over the next decade. My ambition is that this decade becomes the decade of the engineer as we encourage more young people - and girls in particular - to study physics, maths and science at school as the gateway subjects to a career in engineering. The Royal Academy’s programme - Engineering for Growth - will help us make this a reality.”

Robin Southwell, CEO of EADS UK, added “Engineering for Growth highlights the vital contribution that engineering makes to the re-balancing of the economy, but it also raises many important issues. The pipeline of engineering skills, for example, is something that EADS is actively addressing by working closely with both universities and government to ensure an effective throughput of talented applicants, for the company and for our supply chain. We aim to hire more than 500 permanent employees in 2013 alone, so we recognise first-hand the vital need to future-proof our and indeed our nation’s engineering talent pool”.

Sir Richard Olver FREng, Chairman of BAE Systems said: “I sincerely hope the Engineering for Growth campaign will draw significant attention to the critical role engineering plays in our economy and the striking nature of the skills gap we face going forward. We need a co-ordinated effort amongst industry, Government and education in order to meet the UK’s annual requirement for 100,000 new graduates in STEM subjects and a further 60,000 technicians and apprentices every year until 2020, and that is merely to maintain current employment numbers.”

Professor Dr Uwe Krueger, Atkins’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “Engineering has traditionally been one of the UK’s most robust components and it is increasingly becoming one of the country’s most important exports. This is driven by a growing demand for our people’s expertise as we help the world to deal with the conflating issues of rising populations and climate change which threaten our natural resources and infrastructure. The Royal Academy’s Engineering for Growth campaign is vital in helping us to highlight the role our sector must play in the future and to open the eyes of young talented people to the wealth of possibilities and opportunities that a career in engineering design offers.”

Professor David Delpy FREng FMedSci FRS, CEO, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council said: "The Engineering for Growth campaign has EPSRC's full support, we are proud to be a partner. Supporting world class research and developing skilled leaders in science and engineering are top priorities for this Council. These are vital for the UK's drive towards an increased focus on the value of engineering to society."

Professor Andy Hopper CBE FREng FRS, President, Institution of Engineering and Technology said: “Engineering is the basis of the world in which we live. Every bit of technology we use has been engineered; every computing device has been programmed by software engineers; every significant built structure has involved civil and structural engineers; the energy we use is the result of the efforts of electrical and gas engineers and technicians.

“Despite the major contribution of engineering to our lives and economic prosperity, there is still a general lack of awareness of engineering and the work of engineers.

“Through the Engineering for Growth campaign, we are confident that we can boost the profile of engineering and highlight the exciting range of careers available.”

Ian Lambert, Lucite International CEO, said: “Lucite International (part of the Mitsubishi Rayon Group) wholeheartedly supports the ethos and objectives of the Royal Academy of Engineering's 'Engineering for Growth' campaign and is delighted to be a partner in this initiative.

"Engineering excellence is one of the cornerstones of Lucite International's business success both in the UK and at our manufacturing sites around the world. As such, we are particularly keen to encourage more young people to choose engineering as their future career.”

“More than ever before, engineering is playing its part in designing how we will live our lives in the future.” said Steve Holliday FREng, CEO of National Grid plc. “What could be more important than that - who wouldn’t want to be part of designing the future? It’s so important that young people have the right opportunities and advice at school, so they can have the option to participate in these incredible industries.”

Iain Gray FREng FRSE, Chief Executive, Technology Strategy Board said: ” The Technology Strategy Board is delighted to be a supporter of the Engineering for Growth Campaign. We work together with business, research institutions and the science and technology base to help bring new ideas and technologies to market to support economic growth, so we welcome the opportunity to continue that level of collaboration to identify and debate some of the biggest challenges facing the UK engineering industry today and in the future.”

Notes for editors

About Engineering for Growth

Engineering for Growthis a partnership campaign to demonstrate the contribution of engineering to the UK economy and society. This involves promoting the economic impact and societal benefits delivered by engineering; raising awareness of the issues that explore how engineering could make a bigger contribution; and increasing the profile of EfG partners activities that will help create growth in the economy.

Engineering for Growth is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering in partnership with Atkins, BAE Systems; EADS; Lucite International; Rolls-Royce; McLaren Group; National Grid; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Technology Strategy Board; Institution of Chemical Engineers; the Institution of Engineering and Technology; and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

www.engineeringforgrowth.org.uk


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Ellie Dobson at Proof Communication

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