The latest annual SME Manufacturing Survey from MHA has created an atmosphere of optimism among manufacturers.

Rising optimism in the industry is supported by continuing investment in R&D, capital expenditure, an increase in recruitment, and a 13 percent rise in firms due to take on apprentices. Over 90 percent of SME manufacturers are predicting growth over the next 12 months, and 64 percent intend to take on new apprentices or trainees.

Regardless of growing optimism within the industry, a skills shortage continues to harm future prospects; described by Chris Coopey, the Head of MHA’s Manufacturing Group, as “a national scandal”. Despite the majority of SME manufacturers predicting growth over the next 12 months, 60 percent of these businesses remain unable to pass on any increased costs to customers. Additionally, 36 percent of the same businesses are unsure how they will meet the upcoming cost of pension auto-enrolment, and blame bureaucratic red tape for creating inflated administration costs.

Patrick Phelan, Managing Director of Aquaterra Energy, said: “Aquaterra Energy has been growing strongly over the past few years, doubling its workforce in Aberdeen and growing its teams in Cambridge and Norwich. This growth demonstrates how UK engineering remains in high demand, and we aim to continue this growth and remain at the forefront of innovations in riser systems and platform technologies.”