Semta's Chief Executive Ann Watson shares her views on the latest news, policy, issues and events of interest to the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector. 


The coming general election is one of the most open in recent times, and nobody can quite be sure what the make-up of the Commons is going to look like come 8 May. That’s why it’s heartening that all three of the major parties – Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats – are making positive noises about engineering and manufacturing. All three are also signed up to a further expansion of apprenticeships, which will help to give employers the confidence to invest in them.

I’m delighted to say that our second Semta Skills Awards, held on Tuesday evening at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London, was another resounding success.  I was thrilled by the number of attendees who referred to the night as a party which truly reflects the celebratory atmosphere. 

It’s so important to stop and take stock of the fantastic achievements of our sector and the amazing people that work in it.  As Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy, said on the night, the nation’s historical engineers were “the rock stars of their day” and we need to regain this buzz around engineering and advanced manufacturing.  I hope you agree that the Semta Skills Awards play an important role in celebrating the ‘stars’ of our sector.

Monday, 16 February 2015 12:38

The STEM Alliance … Greater Together

I hope after reading this blog you will agree to being part of the solution to a problem we all share:

  • 1 million new engineers, scientists and technicians needed by 2020
  • 42% of employers face difficulty in recruiting people with the right STEM skills.

We all recognise this is the challenge that we have and are actively working to solve it.

Whilst we are all focused on achieving this we are missing the hidden skills gap in STEM – who is going to teach, train and mentor our future recruits? 

Far from a glamorous getaway for the business and political elite, the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos is the culmination of intensive year-round work to improve lives on a truly global scale.

Arriving late on the Tuesday afternoon, I steeled myself for three days of speeches, workshops, panels and impromptu meetings ahead.  You never know quite who you’re going to meet, but you CAN rely on the – perhaps unique – opportunity that Davos affords to interact, debate and work with fellow international business and political leaders.

The WEF’s official motto – committed to improving the state of the world – feels both grand and ambitious, but in truth, there is a real sense of coming together for the greater good of a challenging and changing world that is both inspiring and heartening.

Friday, 02 January 2015 10:12

Onwards and upwards

Welcome to the New Year and I’m delighted to begin my tenure as the new CEO of Semta.

Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah Sillars for her great leadership over the last two years, it has been a pleasure to work with Sarah and I’m delighted to be taking up the baton at this exciting juncture.

I bring with me 22 years experience of working in the engineering sector, 16 of which have been with Semta. My passion for engineering was ignited at an early age, stemming from my family history – two generations of engineers go before me – and my upbringing in Teesside’s industrial heartland. I fully appreciate the skills challenges facing the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector and am committed to ensuring that Semta plays its part in helping our employers overcome these.

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