Engineering: a Future Outside the EU

Leaving the EU

The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) is the national academy of engineering in the UK, they unite the most skilled and successful engineers from across the engineering sectors for one sole purpose, to strengthen and promote the quality of engineering.

The RAE have put together a report which highlights the government’s new innovative strategy as being a significant opportunity to help the UK compete on the world stage. However, the report also identifies that Brexit must not restrict access to the engineering skills across Europe which the UK relies on in order to make the most of this opportunity.

The Importance of Engineering in the UK

Engineering related sectors account for a minimum of £280 billion within the UK’s gross value added (the measure of the value of goods and services produced in the UK), 20% in total.

Engineering businesses recruit an average of 5.5 million people in the UK and constitute half of all exports.

As well as being responsible for the employment of millions of people, engineering businesses invest over £9 billion each year, which contributes to development and research, whereas the government spend an average of just £1.5 – £3.1 billion yearly. This suggests that the UK attains momentous leverage on its public investment, which achieves a number of substantial benefits for the nation.

Engineering transforms research and ideas into wealth, creating innovation that drives social and economical progress, essentially improving lives along the way. It is, therefore, vital that the UK government, in negotiation with the UK’s exit from the EU, is fully aware of the issues which will affect engineering performance in the UK.


Over 30 professional organisations in the UK engineering community have teamed up to provide evidence-based advice to inform the government. Organisations within this alliance unite engineers across all branches of engineering and technology sectors – industry, public and academia – to gather evidence and fully analyse the risks and opportunities the UK will face once exiting the EU. This will also help support the government in securing the best possible outcome for the UK from negotiations.

From this, it has been determined that engineering performance and capacity are useful for the exit negotiations, developing brand new approaches to international shaping and trade in the government’s new industrial strategy.

However, given that the government’s approaches to these key areas are in the developing process, and the independence and complexity of the issues raised, there is a high chance there is going to be more work involved to support negotiations going forward.

Further Analysis

Further analysis has been grouped into three main themes: standards & legislation, people & skills and finance & markets. Although, the risks and opportunities identified within each theme are highly dependent and interconnected with one another, they are not mutually exclusive.

To view the full report please click here.

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