Category Archive: Industry Updates

  1. The Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow Award 2020

    It’s that time of year again! Applications for the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow Award are now open!

    Do you employ a young engineer who is currently working on a project or has taken a major role in a project which has or will significantly improve the competitiveness and/or technology of your company? Do you want your best and brightest to receive the recognition they deserve?

    Then encourage them to apply for the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow Award and see them celebrated at our Annual Dinner on 28th May 2020. This is a National competition, so we would love to see applications from across Scotland.

    In association with the Incorporation of Hammermen, we annually present an award to a young engineer who has led a project that benefited their company and the industry in general. The prize of £1,000 is accompanied by a beautifully crafted trophy, which is held for one year. If you’d like to know more, click the link below for details on how to apply.

    Closing date for entries is Friday 3rd April 2020

    Click here for application details.




  2. 100 years of Women’s Engineering

    Lorna Bennet
    Mechanical Engineer
    WES Prize Winner 2018


    2019 has been a special year, marking the 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Engineering Society, inspiring numerous events across the country that have brought focus to our efforts to improve our diversity in Industry.

    So, as we close the year it seems fair to pose the question: how far have we advanced in 100 years? Well, we’ve come a long way since the days of blatant discrimination targeted at Women trying to enter the Engineering sector, and there are certainly policy and legislative support mechanisms in place which aim to “hold the gains”. Yet no matter how welcome these are, let’s not kid ourselves as even now there are still significant barriers to overcome. So, what steps do we next take to make significant progress?

    Those much longer in industry than me acknowledge that there has been much talk on the subject, with a fraction of that energy reflected in actual progress. We know that addressing the root causes of gender inequality in Engineering Manufacturing is no mean feat, but we also know that by working together with Governments, Education and Employers, reflecting on current practices and developing better cultures, change can be affected.

    Perhaps there has never been a better time to remind ourselves of the prize to be had from attracting more women in to Industry. Scottish manufacturing and engineering employers are acutely aware of the need for skilled workers, where many factors culminate in a current and future shortage of STEM talent. Anything that raises the current 11% of women represented in Industry is going to help that picture, and actions which make our industry more attractive to everyone will help encourage all young people to consider a career in STEM.

    Even with so much opportunity and demand, we are still struggling to attract young women to pursue a career in Engineering. Underrepresentation of women in our sector sadly deters many from even applying, as many young women and girls don’t feel they belong in the sector. Engineering is a fantastic career with a diverse range of areas to work in, however narrow perceptions that engineering is for men, or that engineering can’t be creative are dated and highly inaccurate. Young people want a career with a moral purpose that will contribute to improving society or saving the planet. We need to change the way we talk about engineering and show how it will transform the future. Engineers save more lives than doctors, as it is engineers who build hospitals, design the equipment doctors use to treat patients and provide access to clean energy, water and sanitation.

    It’s important to highlight that women don’t solely benefit from equality, as wider Industry reaps the benefits of having a more diverse workplace, and we know that diversity of thought is great for the bottom line. Having a balanced workforce in every respect enhances creativity, constructive debate and creates a better understanding of the ever-changing challenges and needs of our sector.

    In 2019 the Women’s Engineering Society welcomed the joint initiative for Diversity, Inclusion and Unconscious Bias training to industry brought by Equate Scotland, SEMTA and Scottish Engineering, and congratulations to those companies that participated in this. But it’s equally important that support such as this is not a one-off initiative. In that respect it is very welcome news that, having won funding from the Workplace Equality Fund, this initiative will expand and continue into 2020, with a wider remit of support enabled by a project officer based in Scottish Engineering.

    To return to my initial question: what progress have we made in 100 years? Well definitely some, and it’s clear that it has been delivered where actions speak louder than words, and a commitment to culture change has been embraced throughout an organization.

    In this respect, good intentions alone are not enough if we wish for a 2119 where this is simply no longer a talking point. For that we need actions, not good intentions.


    The views expressed by the guest writer are not necessarily those of Scottish Engineering

  3. Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company

    Andy Russell
    Operations Manager,
    Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company


    The idea of creating Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (SBMC) was born after the release of a 2016 report, The Veterans Community Employability, Skills & Learning, by Eric Fraser – the previous Scottish Veterans Commissioner. It outlined the wealth of skills our veterans’ community has to offer and how it was a priority for the country to ensure there was specialised services in place that could nurture these skills, and help Armed Forces personnel into civilian workplaces.

    Having spent my entire working life in Scottish manufacturing, I understood the values that ex-military personnel can bring to an organisation, the undoubted skills and experiences they own, the outlook they have on life and a work ethic second to none. However, the few % that had mental and physical scars of service, were often overlooked, for a whole number of reasons, or maybe just put in the “too difficult” pile during the normal recruitment processes. To do that though, would be missing out on what is such a valuable resource, when we are struggling to get talented people into the industry.

    SBMC, as a social enterprise employs, as well as offers training and volunteering opportunities to, veterans and others, with disabilities, who have found themselves in a period of long-term unemployment. We aim to align ourselves with local companies who potentially can offer sustainable, real, long term employment. To do that we offer skills, over an 18 month period that can prove, not only to the employers, but to the operatives themselves, that they have the skills and aptitude to make it in their next career. We can tailor training ahead of employment, so they are as ready as possible to hit the ground running. My personal goal was to give anyone who comes through our door an appetite for “making things (better)”, and a desire to believe engineering can be a career of choice. I was privileged to work for a number of wonderful and thriving Scottish companies, and to see people, who have never even been in a factory before, produce quality product, create excellent print works or sign designs, operate a waterjet, produce cutting programs gives me a real sense of selfish pleasure.

    Having recently secured national contracts from bodies including BEAR Scotland and Amey Scotland, as well as a number of local authorities, and with support from organisations such as AFRC, and Hubbell, and of course the huge support and facilities offered from Erskine, SBMC aims to support 150 veterans – including their partners and family – over the next three years. This will allow the factory to expand, and provide more diverse work types, to increase opportunities across the industry.

    As part of the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), the UK’s leading charity helping ex-Armed Forces personnel into employment, we’re able to offer employment and volunteering roles, as well as training, in manufacturing, fulfilment and printing disciplines. What’s crucial when working with veterans is building a sense of worth and helping the individuals understand that their military skills are transferable – and they are incredibly versatile.

    Of-course it’s our goal to get these veterans into employment after completing our programme, but we want to ensure that the workplace that they end up in is enjoyable and ultimately a career they can progress in. It’s important to remember that as well providing new skills and employment opportunities, SBMC aims to grow the confidence of its service users. We understand that returning to civilian life can be daunting and even taking that one step in trying to find a job is difficult, so we’ve designed the 18-month employment programme to ensure we’re consistently up-skilling the workforce and helping build their confidence.

    We have been overwhelmed by the support of the Armed Forces community, charities, and of course manufacturing companies. It’s safe to say we are pleased that our social enterprise has been welcomed with open arms, as this has been fundamental to our growth.

    If you want to find more about SBMC, and how your company, and the veterans, can benefit from our works, please call 0141 471 0830, email, or find our website at


    The views expressed by the guest writer are not necessarily those of Scottish Engineering

  4. Manufacturing 4.0 review

    The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) will provide a comprehensive assessment of your business over two days to identify strengths and opportunities, giving you an aligned approach towards Manufacturing 4.0.

    The Review is conducted over two days and is fully funded, delivered by SMAS and Scottish Enterprise digital specialists.

    For more information, click on the link here

  5. Wider Inclusion Can Add Valued Employees

    Paul Nelson
    Non-Executive Director
    Scottish Autism


    Securing satisfying employment, where you feel valued, can be challenging for anyone but for some autistic people, it can be seen as even more of a challenge. It wasn’t until I joined Scottish Autism that I realised how many autistic people there are in Scotland. I have also learned about the struggle many families face as they navigate education, society and importantly work.

    Autism is a lifelong developmental condition which affects the way a person communicates, interacts and processes information. The autism spectrum refers to the range of ways the condition can present in an individual which can vary greatly from person to person and throughout their life. While some people will have more subtle difficulties, others will have more complex needs requiring intensive support.

    No two autistic people are the same and we recognise that each person has a unique set of needs. We create support plans that are based on an individual’s own strengths, motivations and on achieving outcomes that are meaningful to them. This is the case whether in school, further education or the work setting.

    At Scottish Autism we recognise this and have developed a range of innovative services and support, all designed around the wellbeing of autistic people.

    Some of the skills that are well suited to a career in the STEM professions such as good maths, problem solving, attention to detail, persistence and excellent analytical skills are some of the skills that many autistic people can have particular strengths in. Although, since engaging more with autistic people, I have learned the importance of challenging stereotypes, and I have been privileged to meet autistic individuals who have potential in other areas of the workforce such as the arts, retail and horticulture, to name a few.

    However, it is common for autistic people to experience barriers to accessing employment because of differences in social communication and thought processing style. With the right support in place, employers could really benefit from the unique talents and skills autistic individuals can bring to their workforce. By adopting a more inclusive recruitment approach and improving understanding of autism amongst employers, autistic employees have a better opportunity to excel in a field where their skills are realised and valued as feeling valued is fundamental to everyone’s wellbeing.
    Employers can make some simple but helpful adjustments to create a more autism accessible workplace from the initial recruitment and selection process to the actual work environment itself. These can include making sure the application form and guidance are clear and that you encourage the applicant to inform you that they are autistic, so suitable adjustments can be made on appointment.

    Some small adjustments can also create a more autism accessible environment including a quiet room or space, desk adjustment, adjusted lighting, noise cancelling headphones, amended working hours or flexible working and a supportive manager/ mentor. Also, think of outside the office and help to support an autistic person with reduced travel or helping them to create a work and travel routine.

    At New Struan, Scottish Autism’s Day and Residential School for autistic pupils aged 5 to 19, we recognise the importance of instilling the belief that employment is a realistic and obtainable aim for our young people. We offer work placements within our own charity services; could you do likewise? We are planning to work with Primary Engineering and STEM to provide our pupils with an insight into the opportunities engineering might offer as a career but more importantly, what our pupils’ skills might offer the world of engineering.

    If you are looking to better support autistic individuals into work, Scottish Autism can provide tailored training and consultancy opportunities. We also offer corporate partnership opportunities which can bring great benefits to your organisation and help to raise awareness and understanding of autism amongst your staff. We offer free staff training to Charity of the Year partners as well as help to implement changes in your organisation to support autistic people.

    We develop a tailored partnership to meet your corporate social responsibility objectives, maximise staff engagement and inspire your customers. There are also lots of fun ways to get involved and raise funds to help Scottish Autism to continue to deliver much needed services and support across Scotland.

    If you want to find out more about the work or Scottish Autism, please visit, email or telephone 01259 720044.


    The views expressed by the guest writer are not necessarily those of Scottish Engineering

  6. Hammermen of Glasgow Award 2019

    Do you employ a young engineer (under 35 years of age) who has taken a major role in a project which has or will significantly improve the competitiveness of your company?

    If so, he or she could win £1000

    To request an Application Form – contact Sarah Carvill at

    Completed applications should be sent to Sarah no later than Friday 12th April.

    Closing Date For Entries – Friday 12th April 2019
    Don’t Miss Out!

  7. Brexit Grant Funding Announced

    SME’s May Be Eligible For A Grant Of Up To £4K To Help Manage Brexit Impacts

    What is the Brexit Support Grant?

    The Brexit Support Grant, funded by the Scottish Government, provides up to a maximum of £4,000 to help small to medium-sized enterprises in Scotland manage a wide range of Brexit impacts.

    To find out if you are eligible, read more here.

  8. HSE Safety alert

    HSE has issued a safety alert about a change in enforcement expectations for mild steel welding fume.

    There is new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.

    The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.

    With immediate effect, there is a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.

    See the full report here

  9. New project to support sector with equality

    Talat Yaqoob
    Equate Scotland


    Employers across the engineering sector, no matter how big or small, will be well aware of the continuing efforts to diversify the workforce and bring in a new era of young people, people from different ethnicities and women into engineering. Given that the majority of the jobs of the future are likely to require some science, technology or engineering related qualification or training, it is surprising that we are yet to see a shift in diversity, especially in terms of the number of women in this sector.

    According to labour market data, women make up around 16% of the engineering sector, and only 11% of these women have senior technical roles, yet their equal participation is worth billions to the UK’s economy. According to Engineering UK we need over 180,000 more engineers by 2022, to meet this target we need more women to pursue this career. But it is not all doom and gloom. In the last five years we have seen the largest increase in the number of women studying civil and renewable engineering, we have seen increased interest from employers who want to pursue equality and diversity and we have seen a renewed push by Government to make change happen.

    Engineering is an exciting pathway with a diverse range of areas to work in, but unfortunately this message is not making its way to enough girls and women. The idea that engineering only happens in a hard hat, that engineering is for men or that engineering is not a creative vocation are dated and inaccurate misconceptions which get in the way of the sector recruiting a diverse workforce. These myths need to be tackled and realistic and accurate accounts of engineering need to become the norm. 2019 is the centenary of the Women’s Engineering Society and provides the perfect opportunity to highlight the brilliant women who have been or currently are engineers. It is also the perfect opportunity for employers to showcase that they are committed to gender equality.

    To support these ambitions Scottish Engineering, SEMTA and Equate Scotland have teamed up to deliver a “women in engineering” bespoke project to bolster the equalities related efforts by employers. The project is working with the national expert organisation on gender equality, Equate Scotland, which specialises in supporting employers across STEM through training and consultancy. The project, which launched in January of this year, is providing engineering employers with the skills they need to deliver equalities strategies and actions that are not only practical but will make genuine change. From unconscious bias training, to on the phone expert advice, this programme of work will be a “go to” for employers who want to be leading in this area.

    Through this project, it is hoped that the engineering industry will be able to attract more applications from women, showcase their work to a future generation of employees and create inclusive workplaces; where not only women can flourish, but workplaces which are welcoming to all.

    The project has already been supported by Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills and we are looking for employers who want to take part in our programme of training. Often we hear that employers care about these issues, but they do not know where to start or what activities would be most beneficial to them. This project hopes to demystify the area of equality and diversity and support employers to take positive steps forward. First and foremost, this project will create a training and development space to allow industry to reflect on current practices and develop better cultures.

    Engaging more women in engineering is not as simple as giving a one-off talk at a local school, instead it is about strategic and sustainable efforts. Through this work, we know we can make a difference, all we need are progressive thinking employers to help lead the way.

    Get in touch with us to get involved


    The views expressed by the guest writer are not necessarily those of Scottish Engineering

  10. Ports Plan For Resilience To Keep Supply Chains Moving

    Charles Hammond
    Group Chief Executive
    Forth Ports Limited


    At Forth Ports we have a strategy of investing in supply chain solutions for our customers and we are well-placed to deal with the changing nature of trade and its effect on these supply chains. Over the past few months, I have been regularly speaking to customers and industry organisations about the readiness of UK ports for the changes that Brexit will require. At the time of writing this (November) we don’t know what will be agreed as we seek to leave the EU, however what we can be certain of is that, as an island nation, we are always going to have to move goods through our ports.

    Currently 95% of all UK trade is handled through the country’s ports with 75% of this being handled by the UK major ports of which Forth Ports is a member. At Forth Ports we have not stood still. We have been working with HMRC, Border Force and Chambers of Commerce to ensure our customers understand the changes they need to make to minimise customs delays post Brexit.

    As one of the UK’s largest port groups, with seven ports in Scotland – including Grangemouth, Leith, Rosyth and Dundee – and London’s major port in Tilbury on the Thames, we handle over 40 million tonnes of cargo annually and we are adept at tackling complex business challenges. We are prepared for any outcome when the UK leaves the EU Single Market and Customs Union – deal or no deal.

    We have capacity across all our ports, border facilities, Approved Economic Operator accreditation, I.T. systems in place, flexibility in our workforce and decades of expertise working with our supply chains to ensure a smooth service for customers.

    Grangemouth is our largest port in Scotland and is a main export hub for the country’s biggest exports including chemicals, food & drink, agriculture and the oil and gas sector. The Food & Drink sector is an important and valuable asset and we have expanded our reefer (refrigerated containers) capacity to create an all year round offer for fresh and frozen fish, bakery goods and other produce that require temperature control during transit.

    Also in Grangemouth our new multi-million pound ship-to-shore crane is already improving turnaround times at the container terminal by delivering greater service flexibility to the many short-sea routes connecting Scotland to Continental Europe. Grangemouth already trades successfully outside the EU through effective customs systems and will continue to trade with the EU post Brexit.

    Across our other ports in Scotland we are investing in a diverse range of activities. In Dundee, we are collaborating with many complementary businesses to create a strong North Sea oil and gas decommissioning hub and offshore wind offer to the marketplace. Our new upgraded quayside is complete and one of the UK’s largest fixed quayside cranes has been installed to satisfy both offshore wind and the decommissioning markets.

    In Rosyth, we have secured a new long-term contract for the creation of an agricultural hub with Cefetra serving their Scottish market, complementary to their ongoing activities at the Port of Leith. Also in Rosyth, following investment and a successful conversion of the passenger handling facilities at the port, the cruise business has continued to grow with Fred Olsen Cruises home porting one of their vessels for part of the season. In Leith we have concluded the sale of Waterfront Plaza to CALA Homes which will see a substantial residential development completed in phases and there are two further phases of mid-market rental properties being developed in conjunction with Retties and Hart Builders.

    Our most important investment at Forth Ports is in our people. It is vital that through excellent Training and Development that we have a skilled workforce for the future. We have this month opened our new Skills and Business Centre in Grangemouth which is a facility being used for our own teams but also for external businesses. For example we are working with CalMac trainees on a Modern Apprenticeship course to create the port operators of the future.

    In these uncertain times, it’s important that we all don’t stand still, but that we adapt now to the changes which are guaranteed to come. I would urge Scottish Engineering members to review their supply chain now to seek the shortest route to market, making any customs changes and renegotiating where required in advance of Brexit. We are actively engaging with our customers, many of whom will be reading this, and the relevant authorities on changes that will be needed post-Brexit but whatever happens, our ports will continue to trade globally.


    The views expressed by the guest writer are not necessarily those of Scottish Engineering