Why we are supporting 'This is Engineering'
Our Sales Director, Andy Venn, talks about the enormous growth in the engineering jobs market and FoundOcean’s support of the ‘This is Engineering’ campaign.
The engineering sector is booming
Over the past few decades, manufacturing has seen a decline, with a focus on service industries. According to the World Economic Forum, in the 1980s, industrial production made up a quarter or more of national GDPs around the world, and globally, this share has been decreasing consistently over several decades. In the UK, the 1990s saw a real shift away from manufacturing industries, with many big businesses – car manufacturers, as one example – moving production overseas. This trend is changing, both in the UK and globally. With the booming energy sector, particularly offshore wind, the demand for these skillsets has increased dramatically – skilled engineers are highly sought after.
In our own industry, the blue economy has significantly increased the demand for the work FoundOcean – and indeed the rest of the Venterra Group – do. The World Bank defines the blue economy as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystem.”
By carefully using the sea’s resources, in a way that is mindful of marine ecosystems, a huge number of jobs and opportunities are being created. According to RenewableUK, over 69,000 jobs will be created in the UK offshore wind sector by 2026. It’s an exciting time to work with our oceans.
The UK skills shortage
Whilst the demand for skilled workers like engineers is huge, there aren’t enough people trained to fill these roles. Since the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the UK skills shortage has been all over the news, with job vacancies hitting a record high of 1.2 million in the three months to November 2021. Engineering is one of the major areas where there has been a deficit of skilled workers, especially given the booming sector.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education
The Engineering Kids’ Futures (EKF) report, led by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and published at the end of 2022, estimates that there is a shortfall of over 173,000 workers in the STEM sector. This labour shortage costs the UK economy a huge £1.5 billion per annum.
The EKF report recommends imbedding engineering and technology throughout primary and secondary education. This would be an excellent way to show kids real-life applications of the science and maths they learn in the classroom and inform them about the interesting array of careers available to them in the future in these fields.
It is also true that these industries have, traditionally, been male-dominated. Boosting women in STEM will certainly be a key factor in addressing the skills shortage and expanding the knowledge base in the engineering sector. Women make up 35% of STEM students in higher education in the UK, according to data from education bodies UCAS and HESA, which puts them firmly in the minority. Initiatives like the Women in STEM Summit bring together experts and policymakers to have important conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the future of women in these areas.
Whilst there is still a long way to go overall, we would heartily encourage anyone – male or female – who is interested in the sector to pursue an education or career in STEM. Our Projects Manager, Coleen Greig, in charge of our team of 12 Project Engineers, wrote a blog recently about how much she enjoys working as an engineer here at FoundOcean and what it’s like to work in what some would call “a man’s world”
Why we are supporting the RAE ‘This is Engineering’ campaign
‘This is Engineering’ is a campaign to inspire more people to pursue a career in this innovative and rewarding sector. From robotics to artificial intelligence to driverless cars, the world of engineering spans a diverse range of industries and shapes the world around us. The campaign is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, in collaboration with EngineeringUK, and aims to bring engineering to life for young people, the next generation of engineers. In partnership with the Education Resources Hub, they have also brought out lots of fabulous free STEM resources for young people on Engineering Sustainable Futures, with downloadable activities and guides for students and teachers.
A key focus of this campaign is the variety of areas where engineering can be applied. The resources show examples of people applying their skills to a huge range of projects and careers. Some great examples are George, a performance engineer for Sir Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Extreme E race team, and Vinita, who joined the European Space Agency. But there are so many, from a Structural Engineer working as a Catastrophe Consultant to a Software Engineer at TikTok, all the different branches of engineering and so many different industries – aerospace, mechanical, electrical, sports, acoustics, biochemical, design, broadcasting, the list just goes on. Take a look at their Meet the Engineers page.
This is Engineering: “Engineering is for everyone: whatever your background and whatever you love – whether it’s fashion, film, sport, music or technology.”
For more information on FoundOcean’s experience and capabilities, contact the team on +44 1506 440330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org