High Hopes For the UK Aerospace Industry

High Hopes For the UK Aerospace Industry

Talent must match technology in British aerospace manufacturing

It’s difficult to believe a year has passed since the controversial Brexit vote. In a short space of time, we have already seen a decade’s worth of political and economic changes taking place, and with Brexit negotiations still to take shape, there could be a lot more to come.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding these changes, UK manufacturing appears to be riding the wave of the Brexit vote. For example, at the turn of the summer solstice, it was reported that total UK manufacturing orders had reached their highest levels since 1988. Notably, British aerospace has enjoyed significant growth in the last six years thanks to increased exports, with a total sales figure of £31.1 billion reported in 2016.

So what does this mean for recruitment within British aerospace manufacturing? On a positive note, the Government is clearly beginning to pay attention. As part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund, it has been announced that £26 million will be invested into space industry and civil aerospace technologies.

“As part of our plan for Britain, this government wants to create a modern industrial strategy to support the key sectors of our economy and spread jobs, prosperity and opportunity around the whole country,” says Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark.

For Mr Clark, investment into technology is a key driver in his long-term plans, as he admits, he wants the UK to remain “at the very forefront of research innovation for years to come”. While this may all sound very positive on paper, there are those who have expressed concerns over job security as technology continues to advance, for example, artificial intelligence (AI). In November 2016, research from Accenture revealed that 85% of industry executives were expecting AI to have a “significant impact” within the next three years.

Whether this impact will be positive or negative remains to be seen, but there is no hiding from the inconvenient truth that, despite UK manufacturing production increasing in recent years, employment opportunities have not risen at the same rate. With the introduction of Industry 4.0, digitisation has seen production rates soar.

It’s not all doom and gloom however – we simply need to adapt to the change. Now, it is up to employers and recruiters to decide how to leverage this technology, turning it from a potential threat into more job growth opportunities.

To do this, firstly, workers within this sector need to embrace these increases in production. With advancing technology, there are many top level decisions to be made, particularly in executive level roles. This “hands on” approach can only serve to reaffirm the value of a human being’s decision, rather than undermine it.

 

The key, then, is to invest in training new generations who can step up and use their skills to bolster UK aerospace manufacturing. Thankfully, the wheels are already in motion for this vision, with the proposed Industrial Strategy Challenge already furthering initiatives such as the former Coalition Government’s Aerospace Growth Partnership. As part of the 10 “strategic pillars” of the Industrial Strategy Challenge, new technical education systems will be put into practice for young people who choose not to go to university, with a particular focus on STEM, digital skills and numeracy.

Experienced recruiters like TS Grale will be able to facilitate this generational shift by keeping a close eye on up and coming talent, with a view to hiring these young people in executive roles in the future. British aerospace may be investing in technology, but to ensure continuing growth, we must carry on investing in people.

About Project

As part of a PR campaign for my client, executive manufacturing recruitment firm TS Grale, I wrote an article from their point of view on British aerospace. It was published in Aerospace Manufacturing in July 2017.

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