The advent of the coronavirus has caused a great impact for UK employers, even those in the engineering sector. Many of these have made changes in their work to avoid some of the problems caused by the pandemic. But, no matter the situation, all have had to make some important changes to their work styles. Businesses such as Waco Kwikform have had to get creative when thinking of how to adapt to market trends while others have had to implement remote working strategies or call a halt to productions.
Here are some of the things you should know about the effects of the global pandemic on the Engineering platform.
According to the statistics, at the apex of the lockdown, as many as 24% of all businesses had paused or temporarily paused all trading. While there have been some areas that are slowly being lifted, many who are connected with the engineering sector have been affected negatively.
For example, 45% of all construction businesses saw their work cut in half and almost 50% of their working staff out of commission in May. ICT, storage and transportation were not as severely affected. Many ICT-based businesses were able to have their employees work from home.
Around a fifth of all companies handling imports and exports have had their regular operations cut down and this means they have had to find new suppliers or switch to alternative solutions for addressing their import needs. This has been most evident in the water, manufacturing and construction industries.
The main construction industries have also been affected with an average 24% drop in gross value as of April. The sewage, waste treatment and water supplies were least affected by the situation. Within the manufacturing sector, only pharmaceuticals have seen an increase, whereas transportation and textiles have seen the hardest of times.
Along with the statistics, we are including an important report on the Educational Pathways into Engineering. This work was actually completed before the pandemic took full swing, yet it still contains information on situations that are only becoming more apparent. But the good news is that some progress has been made in this field. For example, there has been growing interest in GCSE and other A level subjects that have strong applications in the fields of engineering, this can include biology, physics and computer sciences.
Some of the reforms have been focused on allowing students to be more prepared for their work life. But, there has been a decline in the number of entries made into some very important subject choices. For example, Design and Technology GCSE have dropped off since the last academic period, as have those in math and advanced math at A levels. There is also a considerable lack of STEM subject teachers. Three-quarters of FE college principals have reported that engineering is the most difficult subject to recruit a qualified staff to teach.
This means that there will be an increasing need to create opportunities for those groups that receive less representation in engineering. This includes opportunities for those coming from socioeconomically groups whose specific challenges are complicated by the closing of schools.
Over the coming weeks we will be including more insights in our Pathways report. This will provide scope and guidance on how young people can drive their aspirations and careers in response to the challenges of the pandemic.
This pandemic has brought with it the important need to provide information on the conditions that should inform policy and actions. We will continue to update our Engineering Insights content to cover a wider range of topics and provide value to those looking for direction in this uneasy time.