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Sub-sectors


Automotive manufacturing

The automotive manufacturing sector in the UK covers a range of companies involved in manufacturing whole vehicles as well as the bodies (coachwork), engines, components such as exhausts, wheels, gear boxes, safety belts and airbags. The sector also includes companies involved in the manufacture of trailers, motor sport related vehicles, fire engines, buses, coaches, vans and lorries. The UK is a source of manufacturing sites for a number of well known international car manufacturers.

The automotive industry is traditionally made up of many Small and Medium Sized Employers (SMEs), each one employing less than 250 people, supplying a small group of large Vehicle Manufacturers and Automotive Equipment Manufacturers who may sometimes employ more than 1,000 people.

Key statistics:

  • There were nearly 3,220 automotive workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 154,400 people.
  • 90% of the workforce is in England, 8% in Wales and 2% in Scotland.
  • Automotive employment in Northern Ireland was around 3,800 people in 2005.
  • The greatest concentrations of employment in the automotive industry within the UK are in the West Midlands and the North West of England.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

Specific occupational areas and skills crucial to the future development of the automotive sector include:

  • design engineers
  • electronic engineers
  • production engineers
  • technicians – equipment, process and product
  • maintenance
  • toolmaking
  • prototyping

Future drivers of change:

  • Legislation and support towards a low Carbon Economy
  • Modern engineering manufacture techniques
  • Global competitive pressures: need to minimise waste and reduce time to get a new product to the market
  • Rapid technological change: computer simulations
  • New product/process development
  • Cost reduction throughout whole supply chain
  • Global quality standards
  • An increased requirement for investment in joint venture work on design and standardisation of common platforms as well as investment in IT-intensive real-time supply chain management.
  • Increasingly important to meet customer demand for new models with greater styling, quality, performance and reliability.

Future skills

  • To meet such changes, there are likely to be roles in the near future for people who are skilled at designing and running manufacturing departments with consideration for how a vehicle will be recycled at the end of its life as well as being able to design products and manufacturing processes that minimise wastage in the amounts of material used in making the vehicle or its components.
  • The use of new materials and the development of alternative fuelling systems will also require people with an understanding of these new technologies gained through study and practical experience.
  • There are likely to be roles for people who are involved in developing and producing prototypes using software to virtually test and explore new vehicle designs.

Source: SEMTA 2006 and Semta LMI report March 2010

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Electronics

Electronics is one of the principal branches of electrical engineering and electronics companies include those involved in the business of creating, designing, producing and selling electronic systems, components and equipment such as semi-conductors, communications technology, consumer electronics, computers and other IT equipment.

The UK electronics industry is worth approximately £23 billion a year and is now the fifth largest in the world in terms of production. The majority of electronics employers are small, with 91% of all UK sites employing fewer than 50 people. Only 2% of all UK electronics sites employ 200 people or more.

The UK maintains a leading position in the global marketplace for future technologies due to its high skills base and strengths in research and development. The UK is a centre for global electronics development companies with: major Research and Development or manufacturing bases; major design houses; leading edge development in 3G mobile communications; and the production of fibre optic systems and components.

Key statistics:

  • There were nearly 10,800 electronics workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 185,600 people
  • 82% of the workforce is in England, 12% in Scotland and 6% in Wales.
  • The greatest concentration of employment in the electronics industry within Great Britain is in the South East, East of England, Scotland and the South West.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

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Electrical equipment manufacture

Companies involved in the manufacture, design and development of electrical equipment include those that produce:

  • electric motors, generators and transformers
  • electricity distribution and control apparatus, insulated wire and cable
  • office machinery: photocopiers, cash registers and computer equipment
  • television and radio receivers, sound or video recording equipment

Key statistics:

  • There were nearly just over 5,600 electrical equipment manufacture workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 108,800 people
  • 87% of the workforce in England, 7% in Wales, and 6% in Scotland.
  • The greatest concentration of employment in the electrical equipment industry in Great Britain is in the South East of England and the West Midlands.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

The occupational distribution of employment in the electronics industry is similar to that of UK engineering. Professional and associate professional (technicians) make up a greater proportion of the electronics workforce than engineering as a whole. Key technical occupations include:

  • design engineers
  • electronic engineers
  • software engineers
  • production engineers
  • other engineers, including control, application, project and process
  • skilled operators
  • technicians – equipment, process and product

Future drivers of change:

  • Rapid technological change
  • Cyclical nature of the sector
  • Globalisation of the supply chain
  • Intensification of competition: Research and development of new products and getting them quickly into the markets is key to the success of many manufacturers.
  • Future developments are predicted to include even greater use of electronics technology in medical applications both for diagnosing and monitoring illness and for use in lifesaving and life enhancing operations.
  • Other future developments are predicted to be in the renewable energy products, improved batteries and power sources for vehicles as well as increasingly sophisticated warning and detection technology for the defence industries.
  • Raising venture capital is a barrier to business development and management effectiveness, particularly for SMEs.
  • Manufacturing has moved abroad to take advantage of lower labour costs
  • Shorter product life cycles and design cycles require companies to constantly innovate and change products and production methods, requiring a greater breadth of skills.
  • Reliance on foreign-owned firms to carry out innovation.

Key future skill requirements are:

  • There are constant efforts to make the most of new technologies and the demand for short design cycles and short manufacturing cycles requires an increasingly greater breadth of skills for scientists, engineers and designers that enter the industry.
  • engineers and scientists that can have an understanding of the potential for using new technologies in health and medicine.
  • skills at designing and running manufacturing departments with consideration for how a product will be recycled at the end of its life as well as being able to design products and manufacturing processes that minimise wastage during manufacturing or make it easier to dismantle or recycle parts of a product when it reaches the end of its useful life.
  • Following the introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) in 2007 electronics and electrical manufacturers became responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Source: SEMTA 2006 and Semta LMI report March 2010

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Mechanical equipment manufacture

The mechanical equipment manufacturing sector include companies involved in the manufacture of turbines, such as jet aircraft engines, gears and compressors, known as machinery for the production and use of mechanical power, machine tools like lathes and milling machines used in factories and toolrooms, weapons and ammunition, and companies involved in manufacturing domestic appliances such as washing machines.

The mechanical equipment sector is made up of many Small and Medium Sized Employers, each one employing less than 250 people, The sector is very important with some parts of the mechanical equipment sector being an essential part of supply chains as subcontractors for the aerospace, automotive and shipbuilding sectors., for this reason, the sector can be dependent upon the success of other industries.

Key statistics:

  • There were nearly 13,770 mechanical equipment workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 270,900 people
  • 89% of the workforce is in England, 4% in Wales and 7% in Scotland.
  • The greatest concentrations of employment in the mechanical equipment industry within GB are in the West Midlands, South East and East of England.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

Future drivers of change:

  • Legislation and support towards a low Carbon Economy
  • Modern engineering manufacture techniques
  • Global competitive pressures: need to minimise waste and reduce time to get a new product to the market
  • Rapid technological change: computer simulations
  • New product/process development
  • Cost reduction throughout whole supply chain
  • Global quality standards

Future skills

  • To meet such changes, there are likely to be roles in the near future for people who are skilled at designing and running manufacturing departments with consideration for how a vehicle will be recycled at the end of its life as well as being able to design products and manufacturing processes that minimise wastage in the amounts of material used in making the vehicle or its components.
  • The use of new materials and the development of alternative fuelling systems will also require people with an understanding of these new technologies gained through study and practical experience.
  • There are likely to be roles for people who are involved in developing and producing prototypes using software to virtually test and explore new vehicle designs.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

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Metals

The UK metals industry comprises:

  • Manufacture of basic metals – companies that are involved in the smelting and refining of ferrous (e.g. iron and steel) and non-ferrous metals (e.g. copper, silver, aluminium) as well as those that produce bars, rods, tubes and carry out casting of metals.
  • Manufacture of fabricated metal products – companies that manufacture structural metal products (such as tanks, reservoirs, prefabricated metal buildings, steam generators), treating and coating of metal, manufacture of cutlery, tools and general hardware and other fabricated metal products (such as metal packaging, screws, washers and other metal fasteners). This has the largest number of employees of all of the metals sub-industries.
  • Wholesale metals and scrap – companies involved in the wholesale of metals and metal ores and wholesale of waste and scrap. Energy savings can be made from the recycling of metals, especially aluminium, rather than extraction from ores. There is much interest in how to make-up components with a view to disassembly and recycling at the end of a products lifecycle.

Research developments in the molecular structure of the materials and manufacturing processes have led to their extended use in modern buildings, vehicles, engines and turbines that as well as having applications in the aircraft industry, help to harness the energy of wind and waves.

Key statistics:

  • There were nearly 33,240 metals workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 412,600 people
  • 86% of the workforce is in England, 7% in Wales and 7% in Scotland.
  • The greatest concentrations of employment in the metals industry within the UK are in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West of England.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

Future drivers of change

  • Regulations to produce more energy efficient vehicles that may use components that need to be cheaper, lighter, perform at higher temperatures and not need replacing for longer periods of time.
  • Another area for future development is that of special coatings that can extend the life of metal cutting tools reducing the amount of sharpening and replacement required, these coatings may also have medical applications for both the metal equipment used in surgery and biomedical implants such as hip and knee joints.
  • As with most modern engineering manufacture, computer software is introducing many design and modelling opportunities for the metals industries. This includes the opportunity to explore virtually how hot metal may flow into a mould rather than having to construct a full sized expensive mould first.

Future skills

  • Skills to be able to understand the behaviour of materials and make best use of new technological advancements.
  • Skills at running manufacturing departments with consideration for how a waste can be minimised and how products will be recycled at the end of their life as well as being able to design products and manufacturing processes that reduce the amounts of material used.
  • Skills to understand both software and design processes.
  • Knowledge of manufacturing process improvement and business improvement to increase efficiency and save on time and costs in the workplace.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

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Transport equipment manufacture, including marine and aerospace

The UK transport equipment manufacturing industry comprises: aerospace; marine; and other transport.

Aerospace

This covers the manufacture of a range of aircraft and spacecraft (such as satellites), as well as the manufacture of essential mechanical and electrical components (such as rotors on helicopters, avionics/aircraft electrical systems and jet engines). It also includes companies that employ people to maintain, repair and overhaul aircraft. Key statistics:

  • There were nearly 720 aerospace workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 96,800 people
  • 84% of the workforce is in England, 10% in Wales and 6% in Scotland.
  • The greatest concentrations of employment in the aerospace industry within Great Britain are in the North West, South West and East Midlands.

Future drivers for change

  • Aerospace companies are diversifying into other complementary sectors, such as automotive and electronics, by exploiting intellectual property acquired through aerospace research.
  • Many manufacturers are exploring the possibilities of producing quieter more efficient engines in the light of rising fuel costs and increased regulation on air pollution and noise.
  • The industry is pursuing Process Excellence implementation to increase productivity and maintain the position of UK aerospace within the global supply chain.
  • Use of modern management practices to increase profitability and investment.
  • Coordination of design, technology, delivery and support at a global level.
  • Composite materials technologies.
  • Computer modelling and simulation.
  • Advances in electronic components and integrated systems, plus mechanical and electrical sub-systems, and space systems.
  • Aero-structures for regional and business jets.

Future skills

  • Project management and the ability to coordinate design, technology, delivery and support globally.
  • Use of a range of specialist software as the sector increasingly turns to development of the use of composite technologies to produce lighter aircraft structures that can carry heavier loads and reduce fuel consumption.
  • Higher-level skills to support emerging technologies, particularly for lessening environmental impacts.
  • Systems design and modelling, advanced manufacturing design and simulation, advanced electrical systems design.
  • Licensed engineers in Maintenance, Repair and Overhauls.
  • Advanced materials engineering (lightweight, smart, electric and magnetic materials).
  • Diagnostic and prognostic techniques.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

Marine

This covers companies that employ people involved in designing, developing, building and maintaining large cargo ships, ferries, warships, and fishing boats. Companies that construct floating and submersible drilling platforms, barges and floating docks are also included. Key statistics:

  • There were nearly 1,620 marine workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 33,600 people
  • 80% of the workforce is in England, 2% in Wales and 18% in Scotland.
  • The greatest concentrations of employment in the marine industry within Great Britain are in the South West, Scotland and the North West and South East of England.
  • Boatbuilding and leisure marine equipment manufacture is a growth sector in the UK. Some powerboat builders export more than 90% of production.

Future drivers for change

  • The new developments are likely to include research and development into new fuel sources for ships and boats such as biomass as well as the use of renewable energy systems such as photo voltaic power.
  • Greater use of advanced materials for example self cleaning composite materials or coatings on the boat hulls.
  • Another growth area for the sector is the design and development of autonomous or remote controlled unmanned marine vehicles that can have applications in surveying the sea bed for offshore rigs and also for protection against theft or terrorism for example.

Future skills

  • Project management and the ability to coordinate design, technology, delivery and support globally.
  • Using a range of specialist software
  • Knowledge and understanding of power generation from sources such as wave energy.
  • Management and leadership skills to be able to develop in an international context
  • training in ‘Lean’, ‘Six Sigma’ and other types of business improvement techniques, new product and process development and implementation, supply chain management and project management, to compete globally
  • Develop the technical workforce with specific technical skills at Level 3 and above
  • Recruit more graduates with relevant degrees, including naval architects and marine electrical engineering graduates
  • Support employers’ training initiatives, such as the Marine Schools Challenge in South West England
  • There is an ongoing need to recruit to fill skilled posts. The industry has an older age profile and most are expected to retire in the next 10-20 years. However, major yacht builders have a younger profile.
  • Yacht building is a thriving, high export industry competing against strong international players. Employment in the sector is growing and new types of skilled occupations are being created in response to innovation.

Source: SEMTA 2005 and Semta LMI report March 2010

Other transport

This covers a smaller number of employers that employ people to manufacture railway and tramway locomotives and rolling stock, motorcycles and bicycles and invalid carriages. Key statistics:

  • There were nearly 600 other transport workplaces in Great Britain in 2006/2007.
  • These companies employed in the region of 14,800 people
  • 88% of the workforce is in England, 5% in Wales and 7% in Scotland.
  • The greatest concentrations of employment in the other transport sector within Great Britain are in the East Midlands and West Midlands.

Source: Semta LMI report March 2010

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