Demand for ex-forces engineers to soar

The rapid rise in UAV manufacturing in the UK will spur demand for specialist engineers, an engineering and manufacturing recruitment specialist Jonathan Lee Recruitment has said.

The growing global market for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for a diverse range of military, civil and commercial applications is being matched by demand for specialist engineers to design, develop and maintain fleets, the recruitment consultancy said.

According to the government’s response on the safe use of drones in the UK, published last month, Goldman Sachs predicted in 2016 that the total spend on drones in construction, agriculture insurance and infrastructure inspection between 2016 and 2020 would be almost $20 billion.

This would be matched by predicted retail and consumer global sales in 2020 of 7,8 million drones, totalling near $3.3 billion. PwC estimate that the global drone application market will be worth over £100 billion by 2025.

Peter Heap, senior recruitment consultant in the aerospace and defence division at Jonathan Lee Recruitment, said: “Advances in smart technologies and a rapid rise in applications for UAVs has prompted a significant increase in demand for engineers to support the industry.

“One of the key drivers in the market is safety; the desire to remove pilots from hazardous situations, but they are proving valuable in a wide range of applications. These include military surveillance, planning search and rescue missions in isolated geographical locations, recording and monitoring coastal erosion, analysing geographical changes to plan flood defences and supporting inspection and predictive maintenance programmes in agriculture, forestry, construction and for energy and transport infrastructure.

“With roles ranging from maintenance technicians, pilots, operators, design engineers, systems engineers and software engineers, the industry is keen to recruit ex-forces professionals with operational experience in hazardous environments or anyone from a military or defence environment, will have the life experience and skill-set needed for these demanding roles.

“For the many HM Forces engineers entering civilian life and indeed, anyone with an aerospace engineering background with an emphasis on technical compliance and safety, prospects in the UAV sector have never been better.”

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