Following their latest quarterly report, Scottish Engineering has held their regular regional meetings to discuss updates and forecasts from engineering employers across Scotland. As active members of the group, our consultants attend a number of these meetings each quarter, providing insight into staffing trends, skills in demand and sharing feedback from our engineering client base.
Gail Halkett, Client Relationship Leader with Escape, attended the Fife event this quarter, held at Smith Anderson, a client of ours and family owned manufacturer specialising in the food packaging sector. She shares her feedback from this quarter’s updates below:
With the latest Scottish Engineering report displaying the headline: “Little to encourage
engineering sector in Scotland”, it was clear that there was continued concern around optimism within the industry. However we were pleased to hear that there were also some positive trends, with staffing levels picking up and order intakes showing a slight improvement.
In his introductory message, Bryan Buchan, Chief Executive at Scottish Engineering, focussed on the proposal from the Scottish Government to invest £70 million to stimulate growth in the sector. He welcomed plans to improve how government will work with industry and higher/further education and shared the good news that EDF have decided to extend the life of Hunterston and Torness, ensuring the continued provision of low carbon energy supply to Scottish industries.
The March report highlights that there has been a slight improvement in order intake, with electronics, fabricators, mechanical equipment and metal manufacturing reporting positive figures.
The feedback from those attending the meetings mirrored the report, showing that the oil and gas downturn continues to have an effect on many organisations operating in or connected to that sector. However there was positive news that those in the automotive industry are doing well with companies reporting investment in automated equipment.
As an organisation, Scottish Engineering is committed to promoting Engineering in Schools and Universities, something we at Escape support through our work with West Lothian College’s Engineering Foundation Apprentices. Members of Scottish Engineering were encouraged to continue their investment in training and apprenticeships, with a strong emphasis on the need to develop and create multi-skilled staff to support future requirements. The representative from Primary Engineering echoed Scottish Engineering’s sentiment around the importance of industry and education working together and the need to “develop a pipeline for future engineers”. Continuing with the need to invest in our industry’s future workforce, the University of Strathclyde reported a particularly high demand from individuals looking to start Mechanical Engineering apprenticeships.
Following the meeting, we were treated to a tour around the shopfloor at Smith Anderson, learning about their impressive history and current success in the global market. Originally starting as paper mill in Leslie, they have been manufacturing in Scotland since 1859 and now operate from a state of the art facility in Kirkcaldy, employing over 190 staff. Not only do they supply to international market leaders including Starbucks and Asda they were also named as McDonald’s UK supplier of the year in 2012, an impressive achievement when looking at the portfolio of suppliers which included Coca-Cola. Thanks to Sean Harley from Smith Anderson for taking the time to show us around, it was a great opportunity to see Scottish manufacturing at its best!
The next quarterly report from Scottish Engineering is due in June. Sign up to our Engineering newsletter to receive a copy along with news and updates from our team.
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