28 September, 2020

The future lies with engineers, Kenneth Clarke tells Conservative Conference

30 October, 2009

Speaking at an event organised by the professional engineering community, shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, Kenneth Clarke, told a packed room of the need to put the conditions in place to allow engineering and high tech manufacturing to thrive in the UK. Kenneth Clarke – speaking alongside David Waboso, director of Lines Upgrades at London Underground, and Dr Rachel Cooke, project manager at Cadbury’s – set out the Conservative Party view that tax incentives and grants could play some role in supporting the economic recovery and suggested that environmental technologies and high tech manufacturing were two key areas for the UK’s future. He commented: “The future lies with engineering. High tech manufacturing and engineering aimed at niche markets must be allowed to thrive in Britain. The idea that the modern economies only have services is very dead indeed. Engineering is an absolutely key area.”

Crucial role
The event was chaired by Andrew Haldenby, director of the Reform think tank, which had helped organise similar events held by the engineering community under the banner ‘Engineering the Future’ at the three main party conferences. All speakers, of all parties, had agreed that engineering will play a crucial role in future, he pointed out. David Waboso pointed out that UK engineering is world leading and is crucial to underpin the growth, prosperity and sustainability agendas. He reminded the meeting that it takes 10 years to create a skilled engineer and that the massive infrastructure projects need long-term commitment. “We need to enable engineering to achieve the world-class solutions that we know we have to offer,” he said.

Dr Rachel Cooke, chemical engineer, project developer for Cadbury’s and former IChemE Young Engineer of the Year, told the meeting about her work to inspire more young people into a career that can make a far-reaching and beneficial influence on society. She said: “An engineer is someone who can do for 50 pence what anyone else can do for a pound. What country would not want more of them?”

A path to economic recovery
Speaking on behalf of the engineering community, Paul Jackson, chief executive of the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) commented that it was very encouraging to see how packed the room was. “This shows the real interest that is now being shown in engineering and technology as a path to economic recovery. Now it is important that we see action taken to ensure that this goal is achieved.”


 
[Photo caption] Kenneth Clarke: “The future lies with engineering. High tech manufacturing and engineering aimed at niche markets must be allowed to thrive in Britain. The idea that the modern economies only have services is very dead indeed. Engineering is an absolutely key area.”


 

 





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