Concerns over the next generation of manufacturing engineers

One of the key themes to emerge from this year’s Food Matters Live has been the issue of innovation in manufacturing, and where the next generation of engineers will come from within the UK sector.

There was particular concern expressed that there was a lack of young people seeking to enter the food sector, with many graduates opting to pursue opportunities in other industries that were seen as being more lucrative.

This must surely serve as a warning for the sector as far as this country is concerned in terms of its future viability. In order for the many technological breakthroughs in terms of systems and equipment to make their mark in manufacturing, then a targeted approach will be required to ensure that businesses in all market segments, including within confectionery and bakery operations will have to engage with this issue.

Another major point to be raised by, Matt Rayment, chief engineer of the Manufacturing Technology Centre, from a panel session on this issue was the fact that many manufacturing companies in the UK are continuing to use machinery ranges that are decades old in a number of instances. While this points to the fact that durability is clearly a welcome factor, the adopting rates of newer more efficient automated systems needs to be increased if we are to see improvements in the efficiency of operations.

This is especially so given the fact that Britain is on the brink of exiting the EU, which will require manufacturers to be even more flexible and adept at handling market conditions amid a challenging economic backdrop.

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