Now is a critical time to prioritise your mental health and well-being to enable you to stay well and focussed whilst working during these extraordinary times.
Therefore, we’d like to extend this invitation to join our Mental Well-Being Breakfast Webinar, in partnership with Member company Headtorch on the morning of Thursday 2nd July 2020. With many of us just starting to get used to lockdown life and settling into a new reality and routine, the prospect of returning to work can be daunting. In this online session, our aim is to give your mind a little holiday from the current stress and worry for a while, and to instead focus on creating an effective and healthy homeworking environment, whilst also looking at steps you can take to minimise any anxious thoughts that may arise when returning to work. The team at Headtorch will give you an overview of how to work well at home and at work, whilst looking after yourself and looking out for your colleagues. This advice will be provided through a series of key messages and practical steps, with the opportunity to ask our speakers questions throughout.
Click here to view our speakers and info on how to register.
Women make up around 12% of the engineering sector in the UK. With a large skills gap looming and the need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to inspire and encourage more people, especially women, to choose a career in STEM.
While we see many UK engineering firms already well engaged in driving better gender balance in the engineering profession, more work is needed in promoting ethnicity/race. That’s why for this particular session we have reached out to inspiring women within the BAME community to join us as our guest speakers, in the hope that we can help to provide a platform and amplify the voices of women who are so often under-represented in our industry.
Please join us for this fun and informal online session on the morning of Friday 26th June in celebration of International Women in Engineering day on 23rd June. Please note that this event is not exclusively for women – we enthusiastically welcome everyone to attend. The aim of this session is to raise the profile of women in STEM, whilst celebrating their achievements and hopefully inspire the next generation of STEMinists.
Click here to view our speakers and for more details on how to register.
It is a well-known fact that women have historically been under-represented in the engineering and construction sectors, and although there has been a significant push for gender equality within these fields in recent years, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
From facing obstacles in applying for promoted roles and experiencing a lack of opportunities, to finding a lack of inclusivity in job advertisements during recruitment processes, there is a plethora of reasons behind women falling off the job ladder in these sectors, or feeling unable to progress.
Scottish Engineering and EQUATE Scotland have partnered to bring you this free online Career Enhancement Programme (CEP), as part of the Inclusive Engineering Programme. The programme has been funded by the Workplace Equality Fund, who support organisations to work to promote and develop more inclusive and diverse workplaces, so that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
For more information and details on how you can apply, Click here.
Scottish Engineering members are invited to join a virtual presentation from the Army Engagement Group. This is a great opportunity to take an hour out of the daily routine to hear about how our Army is supporting and serving the country at home and abroad, covering issues such as:
Support to Government and NHS on Coronavirus
Role in the UK and globally
Development and training of people
The Army Reserves and Army Cadets
Working with employers, schools and youth movements
There will also be opportunity to ask questions and interact with the Army team online. There are 3 dates to choose from:
3pm on Tuesday 9 June 2020 11am on Thursday 11 June 2020 6pm on Wednesday 17 June 2020
Please feel free to share with colleagues or friends who may have an interest. Register here.
The UK Government’s new point based immigration system is due to come in to operation on 1st January 2021 and will have significant consequences for any employer looking to sponsor foreign nationals, including those from EU states, to live and work in the UK. Click here for a summary of the policy.
Scottish Engineering along with other industry associations and employers has been contributing to the consultation process over the last year since the initial proposals were published, and we can confirm that the recent policy statement provides significantly more flexibility for the UK engineering/manufacturing sector to secure essential skills from overseas where required.
In summary, companies will be allowed to sponsor foreign nationals who meet the lower thresholds of RQF 3 skills level (eg A-level, Advanced Apprenticeship or equivalent) and a salary of £25,600. Roles with salary levels between £20,480 and £25,600 may also be supported if the role is identified on the SOL (Shortage Occupation List) or if the candidate has a PhD relevant to the role. In some circumstances, therefore, the SOL will be a critical factor in enabling employers to recruit foreign nationals. There will also be a specific Scottish SOL to take account of differences in labour market and skills profile here.
The MAC (Migration Advisory Committee) has been tasked by the Government to make recommendations on the SOL by September of this year. On 13th May 2020, they launched a 6 week consultation inviting businesses to share their experience of recruitment and provide evidence on the categories of roles that should be included in the SOL. From our discussions with the MAC, it is clear they are keen to take evidence from any companies in our sector, especially from SMEs on shortages of skills in, for example CNC, machining, electrical and electronic trades etc.
Scottish Engineering will be making a sector level submission but we would ask that any members who currently employ foreign skilled workers or may require to do so in the future, submit evidence to the MAC. Click here for further information.
I was last a Guest Writer for the Quarterly Review in September 2018, in which I wrote about the challenges and opportunities for the Scottish economy on the back of a decade of economic and political developments, such as the global financial crisis and the UK vote to leave the EU.
While these themes continue to have a significant bearing on the Scottish economy, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic this year has created an unprecedented global economic crisis and has fundamentally changed the way we are looking at the economic landscape and outlook for households, businesses and government.
The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis and the priority has been to protect public health. This has necessitated the shutdown of economic activity in many parts of the Scottish economy, impacting types of work rather than whole sectors given requirements to physical distance, which has impacted engineering activity alongside other sectors. Our analysis suggests economic output in Scotland could fall by around one third during the current period of physical distancing, similar to estimates for the UK and other economies.
These estimates are unprecedented in scale and that is reflected in the level of support being provided via the various government backed schemes providing employment support, grants, tax (and debt) deferrals and wider support to the business base across the UK to maintain cash flow, incomes, wages and employment.
This support is crucial to protect productive capacity in the engineering sectors and broader Scottish economy, but can’t fully mitigate the scale of the impacts being felt and the uncertainty relating to the recovery and shape of future demand both through domestic supply chains and internationally.
The international nature of the engineering sectors also means that they have been particularly exposed to the disruptions in global markets, supply chains and the collapse in demand in international export markets.
The recent unprecedented falls in the oil price illustrates the global extent of this crisis and the imbalance of supply and demand. Though driven primarily by the collapse in demand for energy relating to travel, this has had significant knock on effects on wider products and engineering services in Scotland, of which oil related engineering services remain an important part of the Scottish economy. Similar examples of extreme disruption to markets are evident across other sectors reflecting disruption to activity, demand or supply and the resulting imbalances which are making previously profitable businesses and markets no longer able to function.
So what are the challenges to engineering in Scotland and globally? Firstly, the skills, technology and innovation within the sector mean it will be able to respond and has a significant role in driving the recovery in Scotland. Many of the challenges posed by COVID-19 will require different perspectives and approaches to workplaces, products and markets. All of these are essential skills inherent in Scottish engineering.
Secondly, global supply chains may shorten across markets and we should see opportunities for the re-shoring of activity from Asia to Europe alongside opportunities through domestic UK markets to provide new products in response to both the public health pandemic and the need to ensure greater domestic resilience across key product groups.
Thirdly, the links with our University base and continued reputation for excellence in engineering mean we remain attractive for inward investment. All of which is crucial to ensure we remain internationally competitive.
Finally, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed many of the key assumptions relating to the operation of the global economy and how the economy and business operates. We have seen a reversal in trends in weeks which had previously taken years to build up and develop. These changes will lead to an acceleration in behavioural change from consumers, which will drive new business models and wider markets. How business operate will also change significantly. Though this causes disruption and uncertainty at this time, it will also drive innovation and provides an opportunity to make a step change in many areas, such as the transition to net zero, which is driving new opportunities in energy supply and the circular economy. Therefore, despite the immediate challenges to the sector, engineering and the wider services the sector provide, are crucial in modern economies and Scotland must retain a strong and diverse sector.
Scottish Engineering has continued to receive excellent best practice examples from across our membership so that we can share advice for continuing operations, or planning to restart where closed.
These have been combined with our Return To Work Webinar guidance from this week into one new document with links to external support materials, decision flowcharts and visual examples to help member companies continue to implement safe social distancing and reduction of infection risk.
Scottish Engineering contacted a representative cross section of our membership to understand and share a summary of the levels of companies continuing operations, planning to restart where closed, and levels of use of the Job Retention/Furlough scheme.
These results have now been combined with best practice shares received from member companies on the implementation of safe social distancing and reduction of infection risk. Click here to view this information.
During these strange and isolating times, it is easy to feel anxious or upset. With the world weathering the coronavirus storm, it has never been more important to savour some more upbeat moments in our working day.
So please join our Zoom link for our Scottish Engineering Breakfast Catch Up on the morning of Friday 1st May – its BYOB (and we mean breakfast not bottle). The aim of this online session is to give our minds a break from stress and worry for a little while, and to instead focus on the fantastic stories of our wonderful guest speakers. They’ll discuss their careers, the challenges they’ve overcome and where they are in life now, and if there is time we’ll have a short Q&A session.
Click here for full information on how you can register.
As briefed the portal to lodge claims opened on Monday.
We wanted to draw your attention to the ‘What can be claimed’ section of the revised guidance.
Previously the guidelines contained reference to ‘past overtime’ which could form part of the claim whether discretionary or not and the broad interpretation was that ‘guaranteed overtime’, as used in holiday pay claims was to be used.
It is our view based on the above revision that the only overtime (and other payments noted) that should be paid and claimed is that which is contractually mandated – i.e. there is specific reference to a requirement to work overtime in an employment contract or statement of terms. This may require you to change your payment and potential claims accordingly.