New event to focus on Manufacturing & Engineering in the North East

Building on the success of its market-leading brands, including Works ManagementEurekaFASTMachinery and New Electronics, Findlay Media has announced the launch of Manufacturing & Engineering North East (MENE) – a completely new type of event aimed at manufacturing and engineering professionals in the North East region. 

Taking place at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on 8th-9th July 2015, Manufacturing & Engineering North East will showcase the region’s strengths and provide a platform for the local and national manufacturers, engineers and their suppliers to meet, learn, solve problems and develop business ideas.

The event will comprise three key elements covering the full range of design, production and manufacturing:

• Keynote conference sessions from market-leading engineering and manufacturing businesses

• Focused technical workshop sessions

• An exhibition with access to market-leading suppliers

With keynotes from senior manufacturing and engineering professionals at leading brands across the aerospace, automotive, motorsport and electronics sectors, the Manufacturing & Engineering North East conference will provide delegates with powerful content spanning all areas of production, design and manufacturing management.

High quality practical workshops will also be taking place on both days within the two theatres on the show floor. The workshop sessions are free to attend and will provide best practice learning and insight into the latest engineering and manufacturing techniques. Subjects covered will range from metrology and rapid prototyping, to factory floor automation and test and measurement.

“Ultimately, the event’s most fundamental aim is to champion the manufacturing industry in the region and offer professionals in the sector a comprehensive event focusing on their needs and their needs alone. I’m very pleased to report that the response has been phenomenal, with the exhibition space now completely sold out, over five months before the event takes place,” says Findlay Media’s Executive Director, Ed Tranter.

A number of leading trade bodies and institutions have pledged their support for Manufacturing & Engineering North East, including the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), North East LEP, Gateshead & Newcastle Inward Investment and the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED).

Manufacturing & Engineering North East was created on the back of independent research and interviews with over 200 manufacturing and engineering decision makers from the North East. Registration for the event is free for all qualifying professionals and opens on 9 February


About Manufacturing & Engineering North East

Independent market research and interviews with over 200 manufacturing and engineering decision makers from the North East confirms a demand for a new type of manufacturing and engineering event. Manufacturing & Engineering North East has been created and is supported by Findlay Media’s market-leading brands Works Management, Eureka, FAST, Machinery and New Electronics to meet that demand and to champion manufacturing industry in the region.

Manufacturing & Engineering North East will showcase the North East’s strengths and provide a platform for the local and national manufacturers, engineers and their suppliers to meet, learn, solve problems and develop business. For more information, please go

About Findlay Media

For more than 35 years, the name Findlay has been synonymous with high quality brands and values that make it the UK’s number one media business in the manufacturing and design communities. Its long established core products are targeted at design, production technology and management readers across every discipline and manufacturing sector.

Findlay Media is part of the Mark Allen Group. The Mark Allen Group is a progressive media business, which delivers high-quality content through market-leading journals, magazines, books, events and websites.

For Manufacturing & Engineering North East press enquiries, contact:

Surika Biring
Events Marketing Executive

Findlay Media

Hawley Mill
Hawley Road

Dartford DA2 7TJ

Tel: +44 (0)1322 221144

For Manufacturing & Engineering North East sales enquiries, contact:

Luke Webster
Sales Director
Tel: +44 (0)7967 169154


Joe Opitz
Sales Director
Tel: +44 (0)7967 169098

ESCO Trailblazer Apprenticeships programme takes off

ESCO Trailblazer team outside Number 10

ESCO Trailblazer team outside Number 10


A significant achievement of the coalition Government has been the increasing uptake of apprenticeships driven by the success of the Trailblazer program.  However, up until very recently, apprenticeships and university placements have followed different pathways and, within an industry highly dependent on high-level skills, the Electronic Systems community has had limited engagement.

ESCO (The Electronic Systems Council) has been actively campaigning for the extension of Trailblazers to higher levels of academic attainment.  In late 2014, the Government announced the extension of the Trailblazer program to extend to Level 6 (Bachelor’s Degree) and Level 7 (Master’s) therefore enabling much broader appeal for companies focused on these higher levels of recruitment.

Following this announcement, GAMBICA and NMI have been working together under the ESCO banner to develop a Graduate Apprenticeship model.  Leading employers have been contributing and the ESCO Council convened a gathering of industrial, academic and public sector representatives who met on 23rd January in 10 Downing St to discuss taking the program forward.

Warren East, ESCO Industry Co-Chair, advised that the “Skills agenda” is the number one priority of the Electronic Systems sector; “The future of our industry is about generating new technology and systems that are more efficient, faster and more reliable than those of our competitors.  Our technologies underpin every part of the economy – digital, transport, healthcare, aerospace, robotics and driverless cars.  If the UK is to really reap the rewards of innovations in new markets, we will only do so by having the highest-quality skills available to our employers.  This is a global industry and our competitors are not holding back on investment in skills.  This meeting today, and the subsequent Trailblazer application, is central to our growth strategy for UK Electronic Systems.”

Government Co-Chair Baroness Neville-Rolfe outlined a bold ambition to get an application approved and in-place this summer with a target intake of 150 graduate apprentices this September; at least 10% of which should come from SMEs.  Judging by the commitment around the table in No. 10, the ESCO team feels this could very well be an achievable ambition.

However, there are some important milestones, the first of which is getting consultation on the proposed Apprenticeships Standards and industry commitment behind these.  The next deadline is 12th Feb and we need your input.

What exactly is being proposed?

The long-term goal of ESCO is to develop a seamless skills provision and pipeline covering all skills levels and engaging a significant proportion of industry.  However, based on our perception of employer demand, we have decided to initially focus on expanding an existing Level 2 Electronics Production Technical Operator Apprenticeship, which can be viewed here developed by Electronics Yorkshire and developing a new Level 6 Graduate Embedded Systems Design Engineering Apprenticeship, which can be viewed here covering both hardware and software-centric skills being developed by employers engaged with GAMBICA and NMI.

Trailblazers are significantly supported by government funding with £2 of public funding for every £1 of industry funding towards training.  There is a public funding cap of £18,000 for the training and education element, with additional substantial incentives for small companies; employing young apprentices; and a completion bonus.

In this process, the definition of the standard and subsequent Learning Contract and Assessment Framework is placed squarely in the hands of industry.  The starting point is a two-page standard and a group of lead employers have developed draft standards for wider consultation.

ESCO Ambitions

This program has the potential to revolutionise skills provision for the industry.  The UK is well-recognised for academic excellence and also for business innovation.  However, the UK suffers from a recognised gap between discovery and commercial exploitation; the opportunity for academia and industry to work more closely together is clear.  A graduate and Master’s Apprenticeship model provides a basis for increasing the pace of translation between the research undertaken in our universities and the commercial exploitation in our industry.

We also recognise that our industry needs to be more attractive to young people.  Building a new career pathway that combines an opportunity to develop academic excellence whilst developing real-world skills in industry and being paid along the way will be a significant attractor for young people.

Dr Graeme Philp, GAMBICA Chief Executive commented “As a former Graduate Apprentice, I personally realise the value of combining academic study with industrial application.  Within ESCO we have been working hard to enable this and we now need to see it to fruition.  Yes, there are difficulties, but we can start here and move-on to extend the apprenticeship provision to more levels and other disciplines.  The key now is industry engagement in the consultation process.”

Dr Derek Boyd, NMI Chief Executive commented “ESCO has provided the platform to influence policy and for our diverse industry to work together.  If you are one of the employers who are passionate about future skills, I now call on you to grasp the unique opportunity we have before us; we won’t get it off the ground without you.”

Employer Reaction

Several employers in the Electronic Systems sector already have existing apprenticeship models and have been sharing existing programs and best-practice.  Renishaw, GE-Aviation and BAE Systems have worked with the Trade Associations to develop a standard that we believe should be specific enough to assess against whilst leaving sufficient scope for the broad range of employers and applications that need to be included.

Reflecting the range of employers engaging in the process, Peter York, Head of Engineering Skills and Workload UK, commented “In Finmeccanica – Selex ES we face significant skills challenges around the development of world class electronic systems. We are particularly keen to see this initiative succeed as there is a pressing need to develop a pipeline of people equipped with the skills we need to create the next generation systems.”

Raeeka Yassaie, University and HR Programme Manager at Imagination Technologies commented “As a world-leading creator of semiconductor Intellectual Property, with technology shipping into billions of devices each year, Imagination is an example of the success of the UK technology industry on the world stage. Our graduate recruitment is a fundamental part of our long term growth and we believe that an industry driven graduate apprenticeship programme in engineering will be a significant and important step in addressing the serious UK skills shortage in this sector.”

However, it’s critical that these apprenticeships are inclusive of the SME community.  Andrew Robinson
Chief Executive Officer, The Automated Technology Group commented “As a fast growing SME with a long history of training apprentices, the Automated Technology Group is a strong supporter of the concept of degree level apprenticeships as envisaged under the government’s Trailblazer scheme.  It is important that undergraduates gain industry-based vocational training in their breaks from university, if they are to be able to move into rewarding roles in the industry soon after graduation.”

What happens next?

We are gaining knowledge and getting through the Trailblazer application process and it’s now at the stage that we need industry to respond.  The starting point is to seek engagement from as many companies as possible, firstly in the consultation process and, secondly, starting to consider how this would work for the companies concerned and the capacity of your company to employ young people in this model.  In the first instance we invite you to declare an interest to one of the partner organisations taking this forward and we also invite you to comment on the draft Level 2 and Level 6 standards through the questionnaires here and here.

Comments will be reflected in a revised standard to be submitted for BIS approval by 12th Feb with an announcement of acceptance expected in mid-March during National Apprenticeship week.  If you have interests in developing future graduate engineering talent we need your response by noon on the 9th Feb – don’t miss your opportunity to input.

Should you wish to get more information on the Level 2 or Level 6 Applications, you can find the relevant information on

You can also find out more information by contacting the active Trade Associations:


ESCO member COG to become IIOM

The launch of the International Institute of Obsolescence Management (IIOM) in January 2015 will take the knowledge-sharing network developed by the Component Obsolescence Group (COG) and extend support for Obsolescence Management (OM) to a wider range of industries and materials. Crucially, IIOM will also provide a defined career path and professional qualifications for practitioners of Obsolescence Management.

“Obsolescence management has changed significantly since the establishment of the Component Obsolescence Group in 1997,” explains Stuart Kelly, Chairman of COG UK and IIOM. “As a membership-based organisation, COG was created to allow defence and aerospace companies to share knowledge and expertise in managing the in-service obsolescence of electronic components in equipment which typically has an operational lifetime extending out to twenty-five years or more.”

“Now, the affects of obsolescence are being experienced by a wider range of industries, and may involve materials and software as well as mechanical, electrical and electronic components. The increased sophistication of Obsolescence Management tools and mitigation practices means that there is a growing need for a professional body to provide the best-practice guidance, training, career development and qualifications for an emerging class of professional obsolescence managers.”

In addition to corporate membership, IIOM will introduce tiered membership classes, allowing individuals from any country to progress along a defined career path in OM. The membership classes will range from Student membership, with no competence requirements, up to classes which will require members to prove their competency by completing an IIOM-approved course and passing a final examination. These classes of membership will entitle qualifying individuals to use post-nominal letters: Associate of IIOM (AIIOM): Member of IIOM (MIIOM) and Fellow of IIOM (FIIOM). The creation of this IIOM-approved career development structure has been supported by the University of Maryland in the USA and by the UK’s Cranfield University and Ministry of Defence.

To ensure compliance to the highest standards in Obsolescence Management, IIOM will establish an international network of IIOM Endorsed Trainers and Assessors Whilst the trainers will focus on developing the OM skills of individual members, IIOM’s Endorsed Assessors will audit projects and organisations for compliance against the International Obsolescence Management Standard IEC62402:2007.

IIOM’s full remit will be to:
• Advance the science and practice of Obsolescence Management (OM)
• Identify and promote best-practice and professional competence
• Provide a career development path and recognised qualifications for OM practitioners
• Generate global awareness and understanding of obsolescence and OM

Following the launch of IIOM in January 2015, the Institute plans to be fully operational by April 2016.

All existing COG members will have their membership automatically re-assigned to membership of IIOM, which will continue to host member meetings in the UK and Germany. IIOM will also host a biennial International Conference and has confirmed that this will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, in June 2015. Full conference details of the IIOM International Conference 2015 are available here

For further information, please contact Ian Blackman at

6th Counterfeit awareness seminar agenda nearly complete

The agenda for our next counterfeit awareness seminar, which is to be held in London on 19th February, is almost complete.
We have a strong line up of speakers who will provide up to date information on all aspects of the counterfeiting problem, which will be invaluable for delegates new to the subject as well as experienced practitioners:
  • Peter Marston will provide an update of the work being done by the European Semiconductor Industry Association to combat counterfeiting
  • Peter Smeeth from the Approved Cables Initiative, will introduce the work being done by the ACI to combat the counterfeiting of cables
  • Jo Vann, a recognised authority on international standards and one of our regular speakers who always delivers a presentation that cuts through the complexity of the subject, will provide an overview of the current and planned IEC, ISO and, SAE international standards for the management of counterfeits. Jo will also provide an update on moves by various organisations to provide accreditation (‘kite marking’) against those standardsKevin Beard, President of NQA, one of the world’s leading accreditation bodies and one of the bodies introducing accreditation against standards for managing counterfeits, will introduce their services
  • Stuart Kelly from the newly formed International Institute for Obsolescence Management, will look at the link between obsolescence and counterfeiting – more than 50% of counterfeited components are obsolete – and explain how effective obsolescence management can help reduce the threat of counterfeits
  • Mark Shanley will explain, based on first hand experience Astute Electronics, how to implement and maintain a counterfeit management plan, an invaluable presentation for other distributors with concerns about counterfeits in the supply chain
  • We will hear from Thales UK how they implemented and maintain their counterfeit management plan, an invaluable presentation for OEMs thinking of developing their own plan
  • Keith Smith will introduce the recently formed Electrotechnical Market Surveillance Group, comprising ACI. BEAMA, ESCO, GAMBICA and the Lighting Industry Association, and explain what the group plans to achieve through collaboration across the wider electrotechnical industry

To book your place at this seminar please click here

ESCO article in Global SMT and Manufacturing

The work that ESCO is currently doing to raise awareness of UK electronics’ capabilities has been featured in the January issue of Global SMT and Manufacturing magazine.  You can read this article, which starts at page 8, by clicking here

Next ESCO counterfeit awareness seminar announced

Onine booking is now available for our next counterfeit awareness seminar, which will be held at the 1VS Conference Centre in Victoria Street, London on Thursday 19th February.

This seminar will build on our previous seminars by providing an update of the work being undertaken by various groups to combat the threat with presentations from many of the UK’s leading domain experts. Delegates new to this issue will get a greater insight into the problem and how to access current information and support to reduce the risk to their businesses while delegates with prior knowledge of the problem will learn about the most recent developments in the threat and support to mitigate against it.

The seminar is scheduled to run from 10.00 am to 3.30 pm with breaks for refreshments and a buffet lunch and will include presentations on:

  • Work being undertaken by component manufacturers and distributors to combat counterfeits
  • Case studies from a component distributor and an OEM on how to create and maintain a counterfeit management plan
  • An update on International standards for the management of counterfeits in the electronics supply chain and developments to offer independent accreditation bringing ‘kitemarked’ suppliers a step closer for the supply chain
  • Other best practice to help reduce the risk of counterfeits infiltrating your business
  • How law enforcement and direct action against counterfeiters is helping to reduce the threat of counterfeits in the supply chain
  • Recent major trends in counterfeiting and counterfeit avoidance and an overview of how to access further information, much of it free of charge.

There will be plenty of opportunity for delegates to raise questions, participate in a discussion forum and interact with our speakers during the day.

For further information and to see a draft agenda, please go to our online library. To make a booking, please click here

2 million apprenticeship starts

Today the Government is marking the fact that two million apprentices have taken up their posts since 2010. A highly skilled workforce is critical to the future competitiveness of the electronic systems sector and apprenticeships will play a bigger role in the future of the industry. 35,000 electronic systems companies throughout the UK collectively employ 850,000 people and expect this to rise to 1m by 2020 through increasing both the quality and quantity of employees in the sector. Many senior executives in our industry started out as apprentices and have reached the highest levels in global multinational companies, so we already know the potential that Apprentices offer to the future of our sector. To enable companies in our sector to take full advantage of the apprenticeship programme, an Electronic Systems Trailblazer has been established to enable companies in our sector to design the standards that meet business needs.  We are looking to develop standards across Levels 2 to 7, the equivalent of GCSE through to Masters level, and look forward to working with BIS to developing the future recruits that will make the UK a more attractive location for inward hi-tech investors. To see the Government press release, click here

ESCO annual report and Industry 4.0 demonstrator launch

The Electronic Systems Council today unveiled its annual report to invited industry guests at its first annual meeting.

Over the last year industry executives have been working to advance a joint agenda with the Government to grow the economic footprint of the UK electronics systems sector. Currently, the successful industry:

• Contributes £80bn turnover, or 5.4% of GDP, to the UK economy
• employs 850,000 in highly skilled jobs
• invests significant sums in research and development,10% of turnover is not uncommon

By 2020, the Council wants to see turnover rise to £120bn and employment number rise to 1 million at the same time as up-skilling the existing workforce. To deliver against these objectives the Council has identified six key workstreams to drive forward its work programme.

• Industrial Automation
• Internet of Things
• Healthcare
• Robotics and Autonomous Systems
• Skills
• Technology

The Industrial Automation workstream is promoting Industry 4.0 and today launched a technology demonstrator that is based at the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

The demonstrator is a live production line that is open for electronic system companies of all sizes to test and trial their equipment and ideas.

As well as automated robots and the ability for technology simulations, it is also a test bed for the business application of the Internet of Things and will allow software gurus to explore the algorithms and data systems needed to enable the sensors in equipment and products to talk to each other.

Commenting on the ESCO annual report launch, Warren East, Chairman of ESCO said: “I’m really pleased to be able to present the first annual report of the Electronic Systems Council, which shows the progress made over the last year. With strong foundations in place, we are looking to raise the stakes in year two. There are significant growth opportunities in growing electronic systems markets and we must help UK companies access new and emerging markets. Electronic Systems is a competitive field, we must make sure that we are firing on all cylinders. The Council provides a strong forum for industry leaders and government to work together on helping our industry to grow and up-skill”.

On the Industry 4.0 demonstrator Warren East, Chairman of ESCO said: “Industry 4.0 is a revolutionary concept which offers significant growth and job opportunities. Electronic Systems companies will play a key role in developing the robotics, sensoescors and the virtual reality technology that will deliver future factories the world over. The demonstrator we are launching today is the culmination of industry and government collaboration and provides a platform for companies large and small to test and demonstrate their technology to potential customers and conduct research simulations”.

Graeme Philp, Chief Executive, GAMBICA and ESCO Industrial Automation lead said; “The use of Industry 4.0 advanced automation techniques has the ability to redefine manufacturing, allowing it to be carried out close to its end user market and/or to the point of intellectual property generation, potentially all but removing labour cost from the equation. These new rules of the game play well to the UK’s strengths. To realise a double benefit, we need to make sure that we become a significant developer of this new technology as well as a significant user.”

ESCO is the Electronic Systems Council representing 35,000 UK companies in the electronic systems community.


The ESCO annual report can be downloaded from here

ESCO event: Industry 4.0 and Annual report launch

The official launch of the UK Industry 4.0 demonstrator and the ESCO Annual Report is to be held on Wednesday 10th September at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Ansty Business Park, Pilot Way, Coventry. Registration and coffee will be from 08:30am, with speeches commencing at 10am.

Industry 4.0 will represent a revolution in manufacturing, incorporating smart factories, intelligent machines and networked processes that has the potential to bring manufacturing back to the UK, by allowing producers to locate factories much closer to their market, thus eliminating long distance logistics costs and the carbon emissions associated with global supply chains. It is a vision for economic growth, creating new jobs and developing local supply chains.

Presentations will be made by Warren East CBE, ESCO Chairman; Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary, Department for Business Innovation and Skills; Brian Holliday, Siemens; and representatives of Hewlett Packard and Ubisense.

This is an opportunity to hear about the progress of ESCO in its first year of operation and to learn more about the opportunities that Industry 4.0 presents for UK companies and to be amongst the first to view firsthand the UK’s first Industry 4.0 demonstrator.

The event will end with a buffet lunch.

Please contact or to enquire about attending this important event.

ESCO comment on driverless cars announcement

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced two new measures today that give the green light for driverless cars to take to UK roads from January 2015.

UK cities can now bid for a share of a £10 million competition to host a driverless cars trial. The government is calling on cities to join together with businesses and research organisations to put forward proposals to become a test location.

Commenting on the announcement, Sarah Macken, Chief Executive of ESCO said:

“It’s good to see the legal barriers to driverless cars being removed.  UK electronic systems companies are leading the charge in developing this revolutionary new technology by developing the kit that will bring driverless cars to our highways.  This emergent technology presents a real opportunity for our £80bn electronic systems industry”.

ESCO is the Electronic Systems Community coordinating strategies of the UK’s leading trade associations in the sector working with 30,000 UK Electronics Systems businesses, supported by the UK’s leading Electronics Systems companies such as ARM, Imagination Technologies, Plastic Logic, Siemens and many others.

You can read the Government announcement in full here

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