This global pandemic has resulted in many changes for various employers including those in the engineering field who have found themselves changing the way in which they work to stay clear of harm due to COVID-19. People all across the world have had to stay in line with constantly changes directives and adapting to swift changes in market needs while either working remotely or temporarily pausing production. We need to look at these changes in an effort to inform each other about changes and the general support of engineering.
Overall statistics have shown that at the height of the lockdown, almost 24% of all businesses temporarily stopped or paused trading. While the lockdown is beginning to end in many areas, there are vast number of employers and workers within the engineering field who have been negatively affected during this time. An example of this would be the fact that 45% of all construction businesses, including labourers and scaffold hire companies, in April saw almost a half thing of their overall turnover with half of their employees being furloughed in May. Storage, ICT and transportation were not affected as greatly with the vast majority of ICT-based businesses being able to allow employees to work from home or remotely.
About a fifth of all companies that would normally be importing and exporting positive in their operations, simply meaning that many industries have had to find alternative solutions in order to support their import needs, this was especially true within the industry’s of water, construction and manufacturing.
Through the main production industries, the gross value added fell by an average of 24% throughout the year to April, with sewerage, waste management and water being the least affected whereas manufacturing was the hardest hit. Within the manufacturing industry, the only area of substantial growth was within the pharmaceutical products with textiles and transport equipment struggling the most.
Within the sectorial analysis, we have begun a more traditional style report on the Educational Pathways into Engineering. Created before the global pandemic took hold of the world, the report was designed to highlight some of the basic issues that have become more pronounced. However it should be noted that there has been progress made. An example of this would be the increase of A-level subjects and GCSE which can lead to engineering’s crew the studying of chemistry, biology, computer science and physics.
The reform to a technical education platform has also enabled students to be more prepared to work within the world. There have been essential subjects that have declined since the previous year such as entries into the Design and Technology GCSE as well as entry into maths and advancement maths at A level. It should be noted though that there is an acute shortage of STEM based teachers within the secondary and furthering education system, with almost 3/4 of FE college administrators proclaiming that engineering is the most difficult subject to find qualified staff for.
In time there is going to be in urgent need to create more opportunities for those groups that are underrepresented within engineering. This will likely be due to those individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds who may face further challenges due to the closures of school. Through the use of predicted grades one can expect it to negatively affect various groups of young people, typically those students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Black students are 2.5 times more likely to be placed within a lower math set than white students.
Within the coming weeks, we will supplement the pathways report with various insights as to how students careers and overall drive have been affected due to the pandemic.
The pandemic has created a need in which information and insight need to be published quickly to keep up with the changing events and environment. Our Engineering Insights will expand to help cover a wider range of topics that will prove to be insightful and interesting.