Help us celebrate an abundance of optimism

Senior reporter

The Engineer Design & Innovation Show – an exciting new exhibition and conference aimed at design engineers – is six months away and we want you to be part of it.

2013 was a big year for The Engineer with the launch of our first conference and the return of the regular print magazine. And with the economy appearing to have finally turned a corner, 2014 holds plenty of promise for both us and for UK engineering as a whole.

As last week’s EngineeringUK report noted, several sectors of British industry are well placed to take advantage of the current global recovery and the much-overdue planned investment in infrastructure.

The aerospace and space sectors are predicting strong growth over the next few years while automotive looks set to cement its role as one of the country’s key exporters. There’s currently more investment going into North Sea oil and gas than we’ve seen for years, and the government’s finalised support levels for renewables have been well received by an industry that looked like it might be wavering on its plans to continue expansion here. The new nuclear programme is beginning to take off and the government is now talking in terms of its plans to ‘rebuild Britain’ through infrastructure development. 

Of course, we mustn’t become complacent. There’s still a huge amount of work to do to ensure Britain can capitalise on this potential. Supply chains must be rebuilt, new opportunities must be seized and government needs to look again at whether its newly reborn industrial strategy really provides sufficient support to established, struggling and nascent engineering businesses.

The difficulties firms have in hiring enough quality engineers will only become worse unless industry, academia and government work together to make a more concerted effort to attract and retain more young people with the skills we need. And it would help if the more positive attitude towards engineering and technology displayed by politicians in recent years began to spread into our still unfit-for-purpose financial sector.

But still, there is much to be positive about. Britain continues to produce potentially world-beating technology and incredible engineering design. It’s with this in mind that we’ve decided to build on the success of our first conference with a new exhibition, The Engineer Design & Innovation Show. For three days in June at the NEC in Birmingham, we will showcase the best new ideas British industry has to offer and the latest tools and processes that are helping engineers to do their jobs.

Running alongside the UK’s dedicated subcontracting and advance manufacturing show, Subcon, the new exhibition will combine demonstrations of the latest design and production techniques with an expanded conference programme highlighting some of the fascinating new innovations to have crossed our paths in recent months.

One of the most well-received aspects of our conference last year was the concluding presentation from Bladon Jets, whose founder Chris Bladon decided that it was best to let his technology speak for itself and asked the audience to gather round for a closer look at the micro turbine that could provide a new low-carbon vehicle power source and that has already captured the attention and investment of Jaguar Land Rover.

With this in mind we’ll be running a series of “show and tell” events where visitors will be able to see some of the fantastic technology featured in The Engineer up close and have a chance to quiz our country’s top innovators.

The show is a mere six months away so we’re already hard at work preparing the content. But we’d like to know what technologies you’d like to see, what stories you’d like to hear and which figures you’d like to meet. The show will be a fantastic exploration of the best of British engineering in its many form so don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of it.