All entries for Sunday 08 May 2005
May 08, 2005
Text of a letter I've just sent off to Coventry Evening Telegraph…
Sir Digby Jones, chairman of the Confederation of British Industry was reported in the Evening Telegraph as not being worried about ex-Marconi workers getting jobs in the UK, but showed concern about whether these jobs would be in Coventry. I disagree. Most of the engineers I know who left Marconi have changed career. Their specialist skills are lost.
Unfortunately the public debate usually confuses the problems of Rover and Peugeot's Ryton plant with those of Marconi. Although all three firms are in engineering, the car is a mature technology while telecommunications is still in its youth. With a mature technology the focus is on manufacture, with a young technology it must be on innovation. Although Rover didn't invest enough in innovation to even to keep a car company on its legs.
We are told that we face intense competition in manufacturing from eastern Europe and the Far East, to survive engineering must focus on innovation and customisation. Yet the low spending on R&D throughout British industry, Marconi's fall and the exodus of its workers out of high technology shows that the UK has lost the plot.