I am pleased to see so many of you here this evening. It is good to be with people who share one’s view’s on the importance of enterprise and innovation in UK wealth creation and the critical role that engineering must play. On this, we all agree.
You are also no doubt aware that Engineering employers are projected to need 1.82 Million people with engineering skills from 2012-2022. This is the challenge, but there is an upside: if the demand for new engineering jobs can be filled, it will generate an additional £27 billion per year for the UK economy from 2022.
The question I am interested in, as always, is what can I, and also in this case what can the SMF do to meet this challenge?
I am delighted that SMFs continue to help with a number of the Royal Academy’s programmes which encourage young people to stay with their engineering career paths –the selection and mentoring of Royal Academy’s Engineering Leadership Award Winners and the Executive Engineers’ Programme.
I am also extremely pleased that SMFs have volunteered to help out with the Enterprise Hub, the Royal Academy’s exciting initiative to encourage business minded UK based engineers to start their own companies.
I believe that collaboration between the Royal Academy and the Sainsbury Management Fellows has produced some positive results thus far but I feel that there is more potential to be tapped.
It is good to hear that the Royal Academy of Engineering and SMF may be cooperating on a roundtable on the image of engineering. Industry can be its own worst enemy in the way that it portrays itself – highlighting the things it manufactures–the cogs and the widgets, rather than talking about the role that engineers play; working with people, solving problems, creating new products and processes, and making the world a better place. How best can we depict engineering as an exciting, well-paid and fulfilling career to children, and young people considering their A level and university choices? If we can find answers to this question, we will take a giant step forward.
I know that many SMFs here this evening, with their management and marketing abilities are enthusiastic to work with the Royal Academy of Engineering to tackle these issues. And we should talk this evening about what the two organisations working together could do. For example, the competition that the Sainsbury Management Fellows have been running at Nottingham University seems to have been a great success and we should be thinking about how we can extend it to other top universities.
Also, to all the Fellows of the Royal Academy, the Sainsbury Management Fellows would like you to know that you are welcome at all of our networking events. Your attendance would foster even greater collaboration, and I know from those Royal Academy Fellows who already attend these events, that you will find them to be lively and enjoyable. Please speak to Cathy Breeze or any of the Trustees if you would like to be added to the guest list.
Finally, can I say that I am delighted that the fundraising programme to make the Sainsbury Management Fellowship Awards continue in perpetuity is underway and that some SMFs have already donated generously. I know that Vice Chairman Mike Gansser-Potts and several members of the fundraising team are here this evening and they deserve to be commended for the job they are doing. I hope that many more of you here this evening will come and join with the Sainsbury Management Fellows, who have already contributed, in helping to extend the vision of the society into the future.
Can I invite all of you to use the evening to network, and to explore ideas on how we can work better together. We face a major challenge, but as I said at the beginning, if we can increase the number of clever, innovative and highly-motivated engineers entering the job market, the benefits for our economy and society will be huge.