2020: A year to be remembered!

Published:  17 December, 2020

2020 will not go down in the history books as the most celebrated of years but will almost certainly be the most notorious to look back on.

What started with a momentous occasion with the UK officially leaving the EU, we all expected the year ahead to be focused around Brexit negotiations, and the impact of Britain’s decision to leave on manufacturers. However, COVID19 had other ideas and by the end of March our normality as we had always taken for granted came to an abrupt end.

The unprecedented period we are all living through has highlighted the importance of UK manufacturing to not only the economic prosperity of our country but also the societal significance of the sector. Having gone through decades of being told that we don’t make anything in the UK anymore and that we don’t need a manufacturing sector you’d be hard pressed to find any commentator arguing that now.

The COVID-19 pandemic over the last nine months has also acknowledged a shift in the importance of developing new digital skills and focusing on specific areas that engineers will need to help to prepare manufacturing businesses for the recovery that will come over the next few months and years.

We must all ensure that this unprecedented period is not wasted and that we invest wherever possible in new technologies and developing and nurturing the skills required for a potentially a very different manufacturing landscape.

Ultimately UK businesses are pivoting and seeking growth opportunities in new markets as they seek ways of overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and looking beyond Brexit, and it is clear that automation and digitalisation, both of production and of business processes, can no longer be regarded as ‘nice to have’ innovations, they will be central to many firms’ survival. Digitalisation is at the heart of all these strategies as it will make the impossible affordable and ensure the prosperity and future of UK manufacturing and consequently the UK economy.

On behalf of the PWE team may I wish all our readers, advertisers, and supporters a very happy and healthy festive period and look forward to a brighter year in 2021.

Aaron Blutstein, editor

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