National asset

The phrase ‘decline of engineering in the UK’ has sadly become so well used that it has almost achieved parity with ‘it doesn’t snow like it used to’.

The phrase ‘decline of engineering in the UK’ has sadly become so well used that it has almost achieved parity with ‘it doesn’t snow like it used to’ – most people agree with the sentiment without readily being able to quantify exactly how diminished it is.

In fact, it is perfectly possible to argue that even if the UK’s manufacturing is a much smaller entity, engineering as a discipline is still healthy, albeit a very different beast to 25 years ago.

Of course, the most vital component of UK engineering is its engineers themselves, who are working across the globe on every imaginable type of project. Happily, engineers from other nations are also flocking here to be educated and trained and many more look to the UK to achieve the professional standards they need to carry out their work.

This globalisation of engineering has prompted the Engineering Council to drop the UK from its name, reflecting the fact that a quarter of those on its register now work outside the country and some 15 per cent are not British citizens at all.

The change of name will probably be neither here nor there to most people, but it is reassuring to remind ourselves that the UK remains a formidable global centre of engineering talent whose standards and qualifications are still highly respected.

Engineers from the UK have taken their skills abroad for generations. If the rest of the world stopped wanting what they have to offer, we really would be in trouble.

Andrew Lee, Editor