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Four reasons why and how the next generation of engineers will be the future of YOUR business.

2. Climate change and future energy challenges 

Never has the subject of energy been so pivotal to the challenges the planet and mankind faces. Global consultancy McKinsey & Company forecasts that electricity demand will rise from 18% of all energy now to 25% by 2050. 

To get anywhere near climate change targets, we need to rapidly be making unprecedented changes in all aspects of the way we live, work and do business. Engineers will be key to driving forward agile solutions for business to bring new technologies to the fore. 

Considering that a decade ago people talked about whether renewable energy could actually work or even be scalable for clean energy investment by business, today every major country in the world is investing massively with options from wind, solar and biomass leading the way, and hydropower following at a pace.  

Decarbonisation, digitisation and decentralisation are three trends of major importance and engineers are pivotal in helping business engage in both dialogue and solution. 

Battery storage is yet another topic for the engineer that will transform the energy sector, and already huge innovations have been developed in a relatively short period of time. 

Carbon capture and storage is a pressing challenge to the energy industry and the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a United Nations body assessing the science related to Climate Change) calculates some 12 billion tonnes of CO2 will need to be captured and stored after 2050 (equivalent to one third of all global emissions today). “There is a huge opportunity in the UK with 70 billion tonnes of potential storage just off our shores” extols Steve Holliday (ex CEO National Grid), and one, no doubt, that engineering businesses can target and exploit for future revenues. 

This paradigm shift in the energy landscape creates expansive opportunities for the aspiring energy engineer and business too, as new jobs in the sector are being created in order to drive this revolution. 

With so much innovation and imagination aided by technology, the pace of change is truly remarkable, realising that price reductions are now finally challenging gas and nuclear on a cost basis. 

3. Emerging industries 

In all engineering related industries, there is a trend towards increased automation and connectivity. Illustrative of this is the tremendous growth observed in information and communication, with turnover generated from the industry reaching £198 billion in 2016, a 23.5% increase from 2011 levels. Meanwhile, the big data sector continues to grow. It is forecast to contribute £241 billion to UK GDP by 2020 and to create 157,000 new jobs. Going ahead, strong growth is also expected across the architecture and engineering job family, with 3D printing, resource-efficient sustainable production and robotics all seen as strong drivers. 

The use of computer systems is now pervasive in all aspects of our daily lives and it is impossible to imagine how we could possibly manage without them. Whether at a personal, business or government level the crippling effects of cybersecurity are ever more challenging. Engineers will continue to support and exploit new technologies going forward for business and innovation, i.e. 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), etc., and conversely, they will absolutely be key to securing systems for data and wealth from unscrupulous cybercriminals and against potential threats of terrorism or extortion. 

4. Empowering engineers ibusiness ikey tcommercial success 

Allowing technical staff to permeate the organisation at many levels certainly makes sound business sense. Putting forward ideas and challenging colleagues’ thinking creates a more inclusive dialogue within and beyond departmental silos.  

Even in terms of brand and marketing, the value of technical input is vital in order to produce and provide accurate, engaging content and key messages to the market. 

Andy Norman, Head of Brand and Marketing at Claxton, reiterates the importance of this.  

“I can’t impress enough the value and gratitude marketing puts on engagement and feedback from the full breadth of knowledge of our employees regardless of seniority, but more particularly the insight from our technical authorities in our in-house design and engineering teams is essential. In modern marketing ‘thought-leadership’ is essential to establish our organisational presence in the sector as a leader rather than a follower. Simply having the answers is never enough, we must critically be able to provide unique insights and perspectives to differentiate ourselves from competitors and become the ’go-to’ resource hub for life of field engineering services in order to inform, educate and assist potential clients with their decision-making – so particularly relevant in a B2B (Business to Business), environment.” 

“Effective thought-leadership implementation aids our reputation and enhances our public relations, and as a consequence, finds the media being more receptive to interviews and quotes for comment on topical matters in the industry, ultimately establishing our position of expertise in the marketplace.” 

All things considered, the future remains bright for engineers of all disciplines with exciting developments and critical challenges in the natural, digital and inter-stellar worlds; never has there been so much scope or reasons to encourage and embrace this profession. Long live the engineer!  

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