Page 52 - SCS Issue eleven
P. 52

WHAT NEXT...? Our Association is getting stronger as business cries out for clarity
Britain’s manufacturers are in despair at the failure of politicians to end the Brexit impasse. The politicians’ delays are hitting production in manufacturing but also is now impacting on the service industry; all caused by this intense political uncertain- ty, states the CBI and others.
Unemployment has however kept dropping and is now around 3.9% of the working population - its lowest level since 1975. In addition the good news that Employment has now reached 32.7 million is now the highest figure since records began in 1971. The jobless figure is 1.34 million.
Wages have grown by 3.4% indicating that political turmoil surrounding our departure from the EU has not severely dented the jobs market or earnings – YET!
However it is thought that this situation has now peaked and that worse news is on the
horizon. Investment has been affected. Low productivity will also keep wages from grow- ing further especially with higher regulatory costs facing business in the year. Business is crying out for clarity on Brexit. Worst affected region for unemployment is in the Midlands where the effect of the JLR redun- dancies of over 4000 has pushed this region to over 153,000 unemployed. The rest of the UK has seen regional drops in unem- ployment.
Toolmakers are still maintaining their position but there are concerns creeping in on the back of the automotive supply chain, and the longer term implications of indecision on manufacturing as we wait to see the next move in the Brexit debacle.
From the recent report on the Tooling indus- try, sales growth in March has substantially risen by 21% for the top 20% of the indus- try. This has helped to increase the industry
average from 1.4% to 5.4% as reported by Plimsolls.
Profitability overall indicates margins have been affected by the loss making firms which are influencing the overall average, holding this at around 3.5%
Productivity has increased on average by 12% but many companies have remained the same or declining, so reducing the over- all effect of the super productive companies. We must remember that mainland Europe has its own problems with elections and increasing pressure on the Euro.
Finally, our association has seen steady growth with perhaps industry reacting to Brexit uncertainty and the feeling that we are better and stronger together!
• Engineering Marketplace initiative for the UK – see page 6
 Solar-Powered car is presented to Monaco's Prince Albert
 The Solar-Powered Car, which is support- ed by GTMA and sponsored by the Monaco Foundation, was presented to H.S.H the Sovereign Prince Albert 11 of Monaco in April.
The Solar Car was developed by Ardingly College in West Sussex and is the result of three years of work from 80 students from 11 to 18 years who have been involved in this adventure.
The project is led by Dr Andrew Spiers who has introduced students to the industrial and research world, developing their skills, encouraging design and innovative products suitable for the market and providing the students with a bridge between their stud- ies and future careers.
Under his direction a new improved car has been developed by the students to compete in the Bridgestone World Challenge 2019 which will take place in Australia in the autumn. The team will be the only school
and UK team to compete in the 3000km cruiser class.
GTMA has supported the Solar Car project over the last two years arranging for the College to display their Cruiser class solar car at the NEC Autosport Exhibition where they have gained support and sponsorship from industry and battery development from Warwick University.
Ardingly College has been shortlisted by the
British Renewable Energy Association (REA) for the Community Project of the Year and one of the team, Thomas Dowell, as Young Engineer of the Year.
In addition TES (formerly known as Times Educational Supplement) has shortlisted Ardingly College for the STEM project of the Year.
GTMA wishes the Team success with all its challenges in 2019.

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