The latest official figures have shown that Scottish engineering is returning to growth, following a poor performance at the end of 2011.
The results, coming on the back of falling activity in the three months to the end of the last year, shows that both order volumes are up and new staff are being taken on.
The news has been welcomed by the industry. Speaking about the latest numbers, the chief executive of Scottish Engineering said:
“We have seen how the engineering manufacturing sector has once again come up with the goods. Orders and output are a joy to behold.”
However, Dr Peter Hughes did go on to warn that delays in decision making from government could have a negative effect.
Though staffing levels are rising, and orders beginning to build, many companies in the sector are reporting difficulties in some areas. The lack of skills in certain jobs is a real concern for example, with welders particularly in short supply.
Another area where businesses are facing ongoing difficulties is in securing commercial finance. In Scotland, whilst engineering opportunities are there, many firms lack the cashflow to exploit them.
Alternative financing through invoice finance such as factoring is helping, but more support from government is urged.
Indeed, Hughes went on to say that the growth seen is very much in spite of government action, rather than because of it:
“It is reassuring to know that whilst our politicians fiddle, our engineering manufacturing sector is getting on with the job of winning business.”