As Will.i.am said
but manufacturing gives people dignity and pride that they make things that are needed and desired ”
Will.i.am rightly highlighted that many young men and women lack a sense of purpose in today’s world.
A few decades ago that purpose could well have come from a vast array of manufacturing industries that built the country’s wealth.
It might have been tough, sometimes dirty, work but there was an underlying pride and camaraderie in making things that society needed.
With 90% of traditional manufacturing gone, engineering in the UK has changed dramatically; but it does exist. And it is still about developing and making things that have a value to today’s society.
The trouble is that today’s high tech engineering companies hide behind a cloak of data, equipment and specifications. Presenting the value of what they do to the outside world in a way that might attract and enthral the young just doesn’t feature.
In image terms they have been left wanting by many other career sectors.
The impact of doing nothing
Through failing to attract enough young men and women into engineering our society misses out on a number of levels.
Firstly, the huge shortfall in the supply of engineers is already affecting many businesses.
Secondly, the lack of engineers, both graduates and apprentices, is projected to damage the future prosperity of the nation through loss of exports as the nation continues to spend more than we earn in the global market.
Thirdly, the larger the numbers of disenchanted young the greater the demand on our social system.
Changing the image of engineering won’t happen overnight but we must start somewhere.
Our Engineers must break their inbuilt reticence and loudly announce “we are creative people, proud of what we do, and this is what we do for society.”
A few industry trailblazers expressing such pride in ways that we all can understand can set things moving.