Since coming to majority power, Cameron has appointed Amber Rudd as the secretary of state for energy and climate change to ensure that the UK continues to support the Climate Change Act.
This is an extension of the government’s commitment to carbon reduction, which was a cross-party agreement signed in February by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. The pledge was to improve energy efficient production and reduce the use of coal powered resources which emit fossil fuels.
Moving forward, the Conservatives plan on phasing out a lot of the UK’s coal and fire powered energy stations, which will require engineers who can deconstruct these buildings sustainably. Equally, they want to reduce emissions by putting in place legislation that would make the majority of cars and vans carbon neutral by 2050 so there are opportunities for automotive engineers.
While the past 5 years has seen the emergence of wind farms across the UK, this term the Conservatives want to give local authorities the power to disapprove any projects if they’re unsuitable, which could lead to a reduction in numbers.
In terms of oil and gas, the Conservatives have pledged to continue the “safe development” of the North Sea resources so there will be more roles for skilled energy engineers. While they are phasing fire-powered stations out, the government are keen to develop nuclear plants across the country.
There has been some controversy over the Conservative’s policy to “support the safe development of shale gas” but a day before the election Cameron admitted that there would be no rush on expanding this sector without the right safety measures in place stressing the demand for experts in shale gas.
The government have pledged to introduce more apprenticeships and graduate programmes to overcome the skills shortage in the construction industry.
This appreciation is reciprocated as more than 73% of managers in construction wanted a Conservative government because they felt this was the party that best understood the demands of their industry.
The next 5 years will see a lot of opportunities for engineers in the transport sector because the Conservatives have re-iterated their commitment to the development of the HS2 railway and have plans for a HS3 line.
Similarly, the current government have approved plans for the extension of Heathrow airport with their proposal for a new runway. The Conservatives are set to invest more than £7.7 billion over the next 5 years to improving the country’s road network.
Construction engineers will see an increase in demand as the Conservative government intends to build over 200,000 new homes to overcome the current housing shortage. To facilitate this, Cameron will release public land and establish a 20% government funded discount for people under 40 to purchase these new builds.
While we may have to watch this space to see how these government policies are implemented, one things for sure - there’s no shortage of opportunities for engineers in the UK.