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Isobel Pollock becomes second female President in IMechE's 165 year history

23 May 2012

Professor Isobel Pollock has been appointed the 127th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). She is the second lady President in the Institution’s 165 year history. The Institution, founded by George Stephenson in 1847, represents more than 100,000 mechanical engineers involved in diverse fields, including automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction.

Professor Pollock is a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Engineering and Design at the University of Leeds School of Engineering. She is also Chairman of the Electromagnetics & Time Working Group for the National Measurement Office on the research programme for fundamental measurements.

She has senior engineering management experience with global companies including ICI, DuPont, Robert McBride and Beatson Clark. She developed multi-discipline management and engineering skills in chemicals, metal handling, glassware, food, drinks and pharmaceuticals.

“During my year as President I want the public at large to realise the vital role engineers play in keeping society moving and driving change for the better," she said. "I will be a passionate advocate for engineering and manufacturing, and the role it can play in revitalising our economy. Furthermore, I want to encourage more young people to pursue engineering careers.”

The last lady President of the Institution was Pam Liversidge, who was President in 1997 and is now Master Cutler of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.
 
Latest IMechE poll results
The government’s manufacturing policies have been overwhelmingly rejected by UK manufacturers in a poll commissioned by the IMEchE. The survey of 1,000 manufacturers reveals that half of respondents believe the Government is performing badly on manufacturing policy, with just 14% of those polled saying the Government is performing well. This follows figures from the Office of National Statistics which show that the country’s manufacturing sector has actually shrunk by 0.9% since the first quarter of 2011 while the services sector as a whole has grown by 1%.

In a poll of 1,000 members of the public, 72% said the Government is more committed to the financial sector than manufacturing while just 26% of respondents agreed that that the Government is committed to rebalancing the economy towards manufacturing. In the strongest result of the survey, more than 75% of manufacturers and 72% of the public said the Government should favour UK-based companies when awarding contracts, even if this is a more expensive option.

Philippa Oldham, IMechE head of manufacturing, said: “The UK’s manufacturing sector has the potential to spearhead economic recovery and lead the country towards growth. Yet in the past twelve months what was a steady rise in manufacturing growth has turned into a slow crawl. Rebalancing the economy towards manufacturing is not an easy task, however these polls make it clear that the Government’s policies to make it happen do not have the support of UK manufacturers or the general public.

“The results of these polls show that there is strong public support for Government to favour UK-based firms. The Government is the UK’s largest consumer, and has the ability to decide which companies are awarded many of the UK’s largest manufacturing projects. The impact on UK jobs and the local economy must be made a key part of the criteria in deciding which firms are awarded Government contracts.

“The warm words about UK manufacturing we have been hearing over the past two years are starting to wear thin. It’s time for the Government to engage with industry now to create a long-term industrial strategy that can put UK manufacturing, once the envy of the world, back on top.”

The independent telephone polls, commissioned by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, were completed in April 2012. MSS Research surveyed 1,000 members of the Institution currently working in the manufacturing sector. ICM conducted a separate poll of 1,000 members of the general public.

The two surveys form the Institution’s ‘Manufacturing a Successful Economy’ report, an annual barometer of the Government’s performance and the health of the manufacturing sector. Key findings from the report include:

Half of manufacturers (50.1%) think the Government is performing badly on manufacturing policy. Just 14% think they are performing well. Twice as many respondents (41%) think the Government’s policies aren’t helping them as those who think they are working (19%). This is a markedly worse response than the 2011 survey, when the split was 28%/23%.

Just as in the 2011 survey, increasing energy costs remains the biggest concern for UK manufacturers. More respondents (58%) were concerned about energy costs than both the state of the UK economy (53%) and the Eurozone crisis (54%).

When asked, unprompted, to name the biggest negative impact on investment in manufacturing, 7.4% of manufacturers named ‘lack of Government support’. This was the second most named negative factor behind skills shortage with 8.2%.

 


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