Scotland’s economy: engineering in good working order

Scottish Engineering also hailed an increase in training investment among its members. Picture: Hamish Campbell
Scottish Engineering also hailed an increase in training investment among its members. Picture: Hamish Campbell
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Scotland’s engineering sector has shown resilience over the last year, with orders holding up, staff being retained and optimism at its highest level since 2014, according to the latest industry snapshot.

Industry body Scottish Engineering said in its latest quarterly review that 44 per cent of respondents reported that UK orders were up, about 40 per cent cited export growth, and 41 per cent flagged an increase in output volumes.

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Chief executive Bryan Buchan said: “Companies appear to have put behind them fears of a further Scottish independence referendum and the uncertainty of Brexit as they take advantage of the relatively low cost of borrowing and the benefit of a weak sterling for exports.

“We are also recognising that banks are adopting a more sanguine approach to good business justifications in their dealings with manufacturing companies.”

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The organisation also noted increasing levels of capital investment and training.

Buchan added: “As regards training, companies are addressing the shortage of specific skill sets and are either increasing their apprentice intake or upskilling members of their existing workforces. Either way, they are ensuring that they will be able to accommodate the orders which they are winning.”

The review found that 40 per cent of firms saw a jump in capacity utilisation, about a third reported higher staffing levels, and the level of optimism across the industry remained “very positive” with 36 per cent reporting a jump.

Skills study to examine future for oil industry

A major labour market analysis of the oil and gas industry is to be carried out to shape a skills strategy for the next 20 years, it was announced today, writes Scott Reid.

Led by safety, standards and workforce development organisation Opito, the project will be carried out by Robert Gordon University’s Oil and Gas Institute.

According to the latest figures available from Oil & Gas UK, in 2016 more than 330,000 jobs supported oil and gas production in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), of which about 186,000 were direct posts.

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The new assessment will forecast the expected job roles required to service the sector by 2035 by using technology and industry trends to evaluate how some of the positions will change.

Opito boss and Energy Jobs Taskforce member John McDonald said: “The industry has undergone a number of significant changes over the past few years. This means that the skills required by the workforce are changing.”

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