In October we spoke to Society President Mick Sweetmore to get his thoughts on the future of our Professional Engineering Organisation in a wide-ranging interview.

Engaging as ever, Mick spoke at length on how the Society and the engineering community will recover from the effects of the pandemic and the changes that we will likely see in 2021.

Here is an extract from the interview. 

SOE has recently committed to the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion framework; how important is a diverse workforce to the future of engineering in the UK?

Diversity and inclusion is now a firmly established element of modern business. It provides a new dimension and new interaction in company life. A 21st century engineering organisation needs to embrace a diverse workforce approach. Everyone has a part to play in ensuring engineering meets with the dynamics of business and the economy. Diversity, equality and inclusion is part and parcel of changing business and it’s important for the future.

Are UK workers going to have to reskill or retrain after the pandemic and changes that Brexit will bring; do you think that will be the case across the country?

I do think so, yes. It’s certainly changed the face of global business and our outlooks, possibly forever, for what we used to know as the norm. Human habits have changed, business and how we conduct our lives have all changed in a short space of time. It is inevitable that many UK workers will probably need to retrain or upskill in some of the business sectors because there is a very uncertain future. I think the way we have to meet the consumer demands are unrecognisable from how they were ten months ago. The Society will need to encourage, develop and support a highly skilled workforce as UK engineering changes to reflect on a very different and very demanding world.