Looking back at 2020 – a year like no other

2020 has been a year like no other with significant impact to us all both individually and as companies. Despite these challenges, we have been inspired by the resilience our members and industry have shown through this most unprecedented time, in particular by the inspirational response and positive support of our member network to the PPE requirements early in 2020. It demonstrates not only the capability to rapidly deliver new or modified product but also the desire for our sector to have a positive impact on the wider community in which we exist.

On that note, we want to commend our members; this year has at times been a monumental challenge for us, with more political engagement than ever before as we sought to ensure that the Scottish Government had a balanced view of the value and need of our manufacturing engineering sector even in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19 brought constant change and upheaval to working practices, challenging our HR and Legal Team, and our Health and Safety Service to deliver fast accurate answers, and the direct feedback from you was massively important for us in refining and improving our communications with you – we aim to maintain that positive improvement in 2021.

You may know that Scottish Engineering is working with Scottish Enterprise alongside Transport Scotland to set up a Rail Cluster Builder for the rail sector in Scotland. The purpose of the cluster builder is to communicate and raise awareness of the opportunities in the rail sector in Scotland and to allow members and non-member companies to understand and benefit from ongoing investment in the rail sector. We have had great engagement and continue to connect companies with growth and diversification opportunities and are currently pursuing other diversification routes to support members in this way next year.

We have also continued to support areas of improvement for the whole sector; offering opportunities for our members to boost their competitiveness by considering their approach to diversity. Whilst we lost the ability for most of the year to meet you face to face, we have continued where appropriate to visit. We have mostly moved our interaction online, with a number of webinars and short business breakfast sessions, and we will build on that for 2021 starting with our First Line Management training.

COVID aside, other challenges required our attention, in particular Brexit. Although at this stage like you, we still don’t know what form it will take, we will continue to press Government on your behalf for clarity and to create the best possible opportunity for our members and sector to deal with the challenges. We continue to work to support the long term health of the sector, by supporting and driving programmes in areas such as apprentice programme support, our mentoring programme, our Future Leaders programme, and our work with the Young Person Guarantee and Developing Young Workforce initiatives.

We’d like to wish you all a restful break, and send our thanks for your continued support in all that we do. Whilst we will continue to represent and support our members through 2021, the team will finish for a well-earned break on Christmas Eve and will return to the office on Tuesday 5th January 2021.