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What the institutions say

While the economic turmoil in 2008 slowed growth in many sectors, it has also emphasised the fact that engineers offer solutions to many of the world’s problems, both in terms of the economy and climate. As a result, many of the engineering institutions are very positive about the future, especially in terms of graduates being needed in new green and sustainable areas of manufacturing and production.

For example, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (www.imeche.org) has welcomed the government’s plan to develop one million jobs in low carbon technology – a move it says will not only produce new opportunities for graduates and qualified engineers alike, but also boost Britain’s manufacturing base and meet environmental demands.

Research by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (www.theiet.org) shows that businesses in its sector are continuing to expand and recruit, despite the economic gloom. Its annual skills survey of 400 companies across the engineering and technology sector reveals that two thirds are recruiting because of business expansion. The survey finds notable optimism in civil engineering, energy, defence and aerospace, electrical and electronics sectors.
 
While the credit crunch has hit aircraft manufacturers hard and put many airlines out of business, opportunities for graduates in the aerospace and aviation industries do remain robust, according to the Royal Aeronautical Society (www.raes.org.uk) So much so that it has launched a new website dedicated to bringing such opportunities all together on the one site (www.aerosocietyjobs.com).

Meanwhile, the Institution of Materials, Minerals and Mining (www.iom3.org) is looking forward to a return of confidence in the construction sector. Once that happens, the institution believes that sectors important to it members, such as construction products, will pick up again: not least because there is still an ongoing housing shortage in the UK.

The Society of Operations Engineers (www.soe.org.uk) says the current economic climate makes a long-term career in engineering very attractive. SOE supports members who work in road transport and operations engineering and is one of the industry’s keenest supporters of apprentices and young engineers. The organisation believes London 2012, a drop in oil prices and the trend towards ‘greener’ engineering has created a buzz amongst younger people who, with the right support, can become part of the vital work force filling the skills shortage within the industry.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (www.ciwem.org) sees the credit crisis as an opportunity for a global green economy, allowing the UK to build a financial system that will underpin sustainable growth. This will happen, it says, if government strengthens its proposed climate change legislation and increases investment in energy efficiency and renewables.

For its part, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (www.icheme.org) points to the growing demand for chemical and process engineers. The IChemE believes that the impact of climate change is a matter of international concern and that chemical and process engineers will be responsible for finding the solutions. This view is supported by record intakes of chemical engineering undergraduates by the universities over recent years.