Thursday, 17 April 2014
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The week ahead: green shoots, clean buses and cybersecurity

Further signs of a recovery in manufacturing have been made apparent by EEF and BDO who published a report today pointing to a third quarter upsurge in the sector.

Output balances across all sectors have reached their highest levels for three years (32 per cent), with domestic and export markets cultivating a revival that has seen the exports of goods and services growing at their fastest pace since the end of 2010, and domestic orders rising 20 per cent.

Orders balances also increased to 27 per cent compared to seven per cent in the last quarter. The strongest positive output and orders balances were reported in the electrical equipment (42 per cent) and motor vehicles (44 per cent).

The survey goes on to report that investment intentions show a balance of 24 per cent of companies saying they are planning to increase their capital investment in the year ahead, which is up from a balance of seven per cent last quarter.

The report adds that this rise in investment plans was driven by SMEs and may be a sign of both greater levels of confidence but also a concern about capacity as output and orders start to gather pace.

The survey also showed the positive investment intentions were reported by companies in almost all sectors with metal products and mechanical equipment manufacturers showing balances of 35 per cent and 25 per cent.

The devil, of course, is in the detail and the full EEF/BDO report can be viewed here.

On Thursday August 29 11 local authorities were awarded grants from DfT’s £5m Clean Bus Technology fund to install technologies that would improve fuel consumption and lower emissions on buses.

‘The funding we are providing will help clean up emissions from older buses in some of our most polluted urban areas…This will lead to real improvements in air quality on some of our most polluted streets, as well as helping to stimulate jobs and growth in the bus and environmental technology industries,’ said Norman Baker MP, who this week delivers the keynote address at LCV2013.

Baker, parliamentary under secretary of state for transport, was instrumental in introducing the £600m Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Match funding has led to £1bn of investment in sustainable transport projects across the country.

Cenex LCV2013, which takes place at Millbrook Proving Ground on September 4-5, will provide seminar programmes designed to give attendees a full magazine of ammunition with which to attack a myriad of challenges, including funding and turning technologies into viable business propositions.

Other sessions - and there are many - will address technology priorities for ultra low carbon vehicles, the challenges presented by electric vehicle infrastructure, high-performance low carbon vehicles, and opportunities for automotive technologies in the marine and rail sectors.  

Anyone interested in attending can download an App, which provides users with a facility that lets them arrange meetings, plan their visit and find their way around the exhibition and conference.

Future App developers and others interested in all things digital are assembling at London’s O2 arena this week for Campus Party Europe, a week of events designed to encourage young people into the digital industry.

The organisers say the event is aimed at young people interested in digital technology and how it is helping to define and shape modern culture and society, as well as, techpreneurs, hackers, developers, gamers and geeks.

They add that a digital skills marketplace will sit at the heart of the festival alongside eight stages, including the Archimedes Stage which includes security as one as its themes.

Recent news from BAE Systems Detica should alert some of those youngsters to one of the possible areas in which to take their skills. Graduate intake into cyber security business accounted for over 44 per cent of BAE Systems’ total graduate intake for 2013 and this summer Detica took on a further 100 paid undergraduate interns into a division that recorded £8,448m in sales in its half year results.

On Friday August 30, 2013 The Engineer’s Stephen Harris reported on the UK’s first civilian cyber security camp, which is part of a wider industry-driven campaign to promote careers in the sector. Click here to read more.

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