Sustainable city infographic. Copyright Arup.

+ With the manufacturing industry employing 8% of the UK’s workforce, and contributing 12% of GDP, engineers are helping to create a stronger economy.

As the current economic downturn looks set to continue, businesses are facing uncertain times. But with the manufacturing industry employing 8% of the UK’s workforce, and contributing 12% of GDP, engineers are helping to create a stronger economy.  

UK manufacturing in high technology areas such as aerospace, automotive and precision performance engineering is world-class. And, like my fellow Arup consultants, I believe it’s important this status is retained and supported into the future. (This is why Arup continues to sponsor the Manufacturing Excellence Business Improvement Programme).

It’s a view that’s shared by many, including Prime Minister David Cameron. Following the announcement last week of the Queen Elizabeth Engineering Prize, managed by the Royal Academy of Engineering, he hailed the award as being potentially as prestigious as the Nobel Prize. “High-skilled, high-value manufacturing and engineering should be a central part of our long-term future,” he commented.

But what will this long-term future look like? In my view, whatever else it is, it has to be truly sustainable in all aspects – environmentally, socially and economically . While some may argue that the last 150 years of manufacturing is responsible for the climate change we’re experiencing, it’s the innovation and skill of today’s engineers that will reduce these impacts in the future.

If we combine our innovation and skill with a united approach to sustainability where substantial behavioural change sees everyone using new technologies, the future looks bright. And engineering will be at the centre of a growing, green economy.

Do you agree engineering is paving the way for a brighter future? Let me know your thoughts.