Bloodhound Cancelled.

I think engineering is one of those professions which isn't well respected/recognized/paid in this country. That's the impression I get from my day to day dealings anyways. And they wonder why they can't recruit or interest young people in STEM careers. Shameful, in a nation where most of the industrial revolution began. Maybe that's one of the reasons why? They take it for granted and associate engineering with people who fix and repair your boilers, deeply unsexy. When you say you're an engineer in the UK, for most people, it means the guy who comes to fix your boiler or telephone line. Engineers =! Technicians.
i wonder if this might change in 10-15 years. not just the work which is done by various STEM outreach bodies within schools etc. but also in kids TV. My eldest is 5 and having been forced to watch a lot of kids TV over the last few years it's interesting just how many (very popular) kids shows go on about engineering. Blaze (the talking monster truck) is a good example, each show he will have to overcome challenges where he will outline options A/B/C etc. and will then pause (allowing the kids to shout at the TV) before going with the correct answer.

Blaze also includes some catch songs about angles and friction (whatever happened to mindless violence?) and in general there is a lot of chat about engineering. Blaze is probably the most popular example i can think of but there are numerous others which do the same. this isnt the same as a 15yo having a conversation with someone and getting interested in a STEM career but i reckon when my son is 15 he'll be more receptive because he'll have been told that engineering is something cool by someone he respects (Blaze).

as for the respect thing, i do think engineers can be a bit precious about this and if it's pay they're worried about then it's probably down to the industry. looking at my contemporaries from uni i'd say the engineers are almost all earning above the graduate mean so it cant be that bad.
 

endure

GCM
Warhurst wheels in to save 1,000 mph Bloodhound car

The Bloodhound supersonic Car had its first public test run at Newquay airport last year, reaching 210 mphRTOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

Ian Warhurst was eight days into his retirement when he received a text message from his eldest son with some bad news.
Charlie, 18, had heard that a British project to build a supersonic car had collapsed and the vehicle was going to be broken-up and sold off.
A week later and Mr Warhurst was revealed yesterday to be the new owner of the jet-powered Bloodhound, which aims to reach 1,000 mph. He hopes to revive the stalled project and inspire the next generation of British engineers.

The world land speed record of 763mph was set in 1997 by Thrust SSC, led by Bloodhound’s project director Richard Noble and its driver Andy Green, a former RAF fighter pilot.

Bloodhound reached 210 mph at Newquay Airport in Cornwall last year but it was estimated to need £5 million to run the car at 600mph next year and a further £20 million to reach 1,000 mph in 2020 when rocket technology becomes available.
The original company collapsed in October and the administrators said on December 7 that the car was being scrapped because they had failed to find a new backer.

Ian Warhurst, a mechanical engineer, was tempted out of retirement by the chance to buy the company developing the BloodhoundNOT KNOWN

Mr Warhurst, 49, made his fortune from Melett, a Barnsley-based supplier of turbochargers for the motor industry. He sold the company to the American engineering conglomerate Wabtec Corporation last year but agreed to remain as managing director until the end of last month.

“I told everyone I was going to retire as hard as humanly possible,” he said. “Then the following Friday night Charlie sent me a message about Bloodhound, saying it was going to be broken up in the new year.

“We had been together to see it in the past and Charlie said something had to be done to save the car. I was just a fan of the project and hoping they were going to do it [break the record], but I didn’t know anyone involved.

“I was just another engineer who was interested in what they are trying to do because it is a very exciting project and it was inspiring my kids to like engineering and the sciences.

“I’ve never met Richard Noble but I Googled him and found an email address and sent him a message. He said I had to act quickly because the car was about to be torn apart.”

Mr Warhurst joked that any dreams his wife, Nicola, had of a peaceful retirement would now be disturbed by a roar of a Rolls-Royce jet engine.
“I don’t think this is what she imagined we would be doing but she is a school governor so can see why it is so important to inspire children.”

The Bloodhound project was launched in 2007 with plans to race the car at a specially-built track in the deserts of South Africa. The Ministry of Defence lent it prototype jet engines.

Mr Warhurst, a chartered mechanical engineer, said: “At the weekend I can be found in my garage with a spanner, fiddling with some old piece of equipment, but I would not call myself a big petrol head.

“I find engineering really exciting and I feel at the moment that because the manufacturing is not in the UK it is difficult for engineers to get inspired. Britain has got some fantastic engineers, automotive wise we are the world leaders, and that needs to be nurtured and built up.

“We need new people coming through, there are a lot of older people who are going towards retirement who have fantastic skills and they are not being passed on to the next generation.

“From an engineering point of view it is not just about getting to the goal of the magic 1,000mph, it is about the journey, about how we get to that point. Now we have got to get some funding from somewhere. Perhaps I am being naively optimistic but there is so much goodwill out there.”

The Bloodhound Project, which is based in Bristol, said: “The team are thrilled that Ian has saved Bloodhound for the country. Its the best possible Christmas present for the many supporters around the world who have been inspired by the project.”
 
Good luck with the funding, but there’s more chance it ends up in a museum if they’re lucky, and not rotting in a barn somewhere in a few years time. Still, at least the guy stopped it getting scrapped, so that’s a good thing and deserves a pat on the back.
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
Re STEM the harsh reality is that while engineering delivers cool stuff that interests many, the maths and knowledge required to actually deliver said cool stuff is significant. Simple rule of thumb is that if you don't have A level further maths at grade B or better engineering is not for you.

Re what used to be know as mechanics and/or fitters being styled "engineers" will refrain from comment as it is the season of goodwill etc.
 
Re STEM the harsh reality is that while engineering delivers cool stuff that interests many, the maths and knowledge required to actually deliver said cool stuff is significant. Simple rule of thumb is that if you don't have A level further maths at grade B or better engineering is not for you.

Re what used to be know as mechanics and/or fitters being styled "engineers" will refrain from comment as it is the season of goodwill etc.
I don’t have an A level in Furhter Maths and I have an MEng and have been a Fellow if the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 15 years. I “ran out” of maths in my second year at university of a very traditional degree course.

I don’t believe you need anywhere near the maths that you once did to follow an engineering career. The young engineers that I mentor have far less maths than my generation because they don’t need it. They are highly adept at selecting using the right software to solve complex engineering problems that we used to do by calculation. Many don’t have the basic first principles knowledge that we had.
 
I don’t believe you need anywhere near the maths that you once did to follow an engineering career. The young engineers that I mentor have far less maths than my generation because they don’t need it. They are highly adept at selecting using the right software to solve complex engineering problems that we used to do by calculation. Many don’t have the basic first principles knowledge that we had.
Is this a good thing, or will it bite us increasingly on the arrse as we let software make choices for us? Do we need people smart enough to spot when we’re asking the wrong question?
 
Is this a good thing, or will it bite us increasingly on the arrse as we let software make choices for us? Do we need people smart enough to spot when we’re asking the wrong question?
I think both good and bad. You can get things designed, productionised and to market with far fewer resources now without endless mind numbing calculations. We’re able to use new and better materials in much more efficient ways.

I think STEM is much more accessible now than it was when I qualified, mainly because you don’t need anywhere near the maths.
 
I think engineering is one of those professions which isn't well respected/recognized/paid in this country. That's the impression I get from my day to day dealings anyways. And they wonder why they can't recruit or interest young people in STEM careers. Shameful, in a nation where most of the industrial revolution began. Maybe that's one of the reasons why? They take it for granted and associate engineering with people who fix and repair your boilers, deeply unsexy. When you say you're an engineer in the UK, for most people, it means the guy who comes to fix your boiler or telephone line. Engineers =! Technicians.
I work with engineers-actual engineers- and a lot of them are European. This is in a UK context.


In a team of appx. 30, 15 are electrical, 10 mechanical, 5 civil/structural. Maybe a couple of chemists in there too. Half are foreign. Of the Brits, none are under 40. There are 3 graduates, mid 20s, amongst the foreigners (one of them with the best legs in, I kid you not, tailored hi-vis trousers you've ever seen).


Most on between £450 & £750 a day, some on more, for a 12 hour day 5.5 day week. Good money... bad family life.

The management is Italian/Indian/Austrian.

The interface people-serious craftsmen and techs- are also 50/50 British and foreign. Similar issue with age.
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
I don’t believe you need anywhere near the maths that you once did to follow an engineering career.
Back in the day, and I did my engineering in 82-84, further maths barely existed. But the syllabus have changed.

Need for FM is not my opinion, but certainly correlates with those engineering students who are thriving in my sons cohort at Durham.

The whole point of being an engineer is that you understand what is happening, which means that at some stage in your early training you worked it out from first principles which in turn is where the maths comes in. Sure, software, particularly in fields such as fluid dynamics, has made greater understanding possible and massively deduced the hours involved in finding a solution. But relying upon software rather then, in extremis, being able to write the algorithms in the software puts one on the slippery slope from engineer to mechanic. And software is cheaper than engineers.

STEM is never going to be truly "accessible" (whatever that means) as it's complicated and demanding. And it is fundamentally mathematical.
 
Back in the day, and I did my engineering in 82-84, further maths barely existed. But the syllabus have changed.

Need for FM is not my opinion, but certainly correlates with those engineering students who are thriving in my sons cohort at Durham.

The whole point of being an engineer is that you understand what is happening, which means that at some stage in your early training you worked it out from first principles which in turn is where the maths comes in. Sure, software, particularly in fields such as fluid dynamics, has made greater understanding possible and massively deduced the hours involved in finding a solution. But relying upon software rather then, in extremis, being able to write the algorithms in the software puts one on the slippery slope from engineer to mechanic. And software is cheaper than engineers.

STEM is never going to be truly "accessible" (whatever that means) as it's complicated and demanding. And it is fundamentally mathematical.
You are confusing engineering with STEM; some STEM subjects require little or no maths (eg chemistry or geography).
One of the key reasons for the STEM agenda was that kids were abandoning science far too early because they didn’t have the pure maths.

Even in engineering there are disciplines that don’t need much maths; I’ve mentored a couple of materials engineers through their chartership who binned maths at the earliest opportunity. They’re still professional engineers...

I’m of the same vintage as you and I did a very classical first principles degree. I’ve hardly ever had to resort to first principles. I used to hire lots of engineers for big, complex engineering projects. Which would I hire; the guy or girl who was highly skilled at operating the design tools we had or the guy / girl who could fall back to first principles? Frankly the latter never came in to the equation.
 
as for the respect thing, i do think engineers can be a bit precious about this and if it's pay they're worried about then it's probably down to the industry. looking at my contemporaries from uni i'd say the engineers are almost all earning above the graduate mean so it cant be that bad.
That's a poor way to look at things. There's a reason why there are so many Brit engineers in the U.S. Apart from lifestyle (in some areas), the pay is 2, 3 or maybe 4 times more, at least in careers I know. If you're supporting a fam and kids, that can be important too. Many of my ex-colleagues took a transfer to U.S. ops when given a chance. Even in Germany, in Europe, the pay for engineers in my field (I have left engg a good few years ago now) is about 1.5 to 2times more than here. Apart from Software people, where UK (London) is generally leading, Europe wise. I am not saying the UK is complete crap when it comes to pay/ recognition, but it can do so much better.
 
That's a poor way to look at things. There's a reason why there are so many Brit engineers in the U.S. Apart from lifestyle (in some areas), the pay is 2, 3 or maybe 4 times more, at least in careers I know. If you're supporting a fam and kids, that can be important too. Many of my ex-colleagues took a transfer to U.S. ops when given a chance. Even in Germany, in Europe, the pay for engineers in my field (I have left engg a good few years ago now) is about 1.5 to 2times more than here. Apart from Software people, where UK (London) is generally leading, Europe wise. I am not saying the UK is complete crap when it comes to pay/ recognition, but it can do so much better.
Pay for graduate engineers in the UK is pretty much in line with other graduate professions. The national average is £32k; solicitors is £35, IT 36 and doctors $47 (in London) according to Glassdoor.

One of the reasons why engineers pay is lower is that the majority of engineers are employed outside of London. The career is also heavily front loaded in age profile; many engineers do what I did; move into program management and cease to identify as an engineer.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Even more impressive at they only used 5 of the 6 gears for safety reasons. They didn't think the tyres were good fir anything above 350mph so limited it.
A Dieselmax 2 was considered to crack the 400mph mark and developing the necessary tyres was a critical path item.

Bloodhound crossed my desk for sponsorship before it was Bloodhound and I knocked it back on safety grounds. Older, blue ribbon records are generally broken in increasingly smaller increments unless you do something extremely clever without doing something extremely the opposite. It didn't tick that box for me.

One of the key problems for Bloodhound in my view is that it got trapped by its own marketing and the scary 1,000mph tag in the early days of the project when it had momentum and was most likely to find backing - the longer these things take, the less likely they are to happen. Just breaking the record would, by definition, be a world class achievement - as JCB proved with Dieselmax at barely a third of Bloodhound's aspiration.

As it is, it's now looking very shopworn and there was a distinct 'Last of the Summer Wine' aura around some of the project team when last I looked.
 
Pay for graduate engineers in the UK is pretty much in line with other graduate professions. The national average is £32k; solicitors is £35, IT 36 and doctors $47 (in London) according to Glassdoor.
Exactly, when it should be, and is elsewhere, more. We all know engineering degrees are the hardest work and virtually the only ones you can actually fail.
We're still stuck in the Victorian upper class mentality that 'proper chaps' run the show and the oily rag blokes do the work and because of this the way to make money for an engineer is to get out of engineering into management as soon as possible. Now while having engineers in management is good, it means we're still short of engineers.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Pay for graduate engineers in the UK is pretty much in line with other graduate professions. The national average is £32k; solicitors is £35, IT 36 and doctors $47 (in London) according to Glassdoor
That's an odd salary number for doctors. I suspect it's skewed by having lots of junior doctors around, many of whom quit because they don't enjoy the job. Doctors are on a path to near-guaranteed earnings in the top 3% of the country at 70k+. Is there anything similar for engineers as they progress or can you easily get stuck on 35k for your entire career?
 
That's an odd salary number for doctors. I suspect it's skewed by having lots of junior doctors around, many of whom quit because they don't enjoy the job. Doctors are on a path to near-guaranteed earnings in the top 3% of the country at 70k+. Is there anything similar for engineers as they progress or can you easily get stuck on 35k for your entire career?
They are no doubt skewed by entry salaries as are those for engineers. Engineers are also on a path to the top if they choose to; I’ve been there....

There are lots of engineers who focus solely on the fundamentals; they become specialists in a narrow field for which there is little demand; a university contemporary of mine is probably the UKs top bearing engineer; laudable but dull.

There are also lots who find themselves in maintenance which is commoditised. I’ve got another old friend who manages maintenance for one of the big rail franchises. Again dull. And yet another who has spent 20 years in F1 on 200k+. Not dull!

There’s no national pay settlement for engineers. Very few are in the public sector. Generally they earn what they are worth.
 
That's a poor way to look at things. There's a reason why there are so many Brit engineers in the U.S. Apart from lifestyle (in some areas), the pay is 2, 3 or maybe 4 times more, at least in careers I know. If you're supporting a fam and kids, that can be important too. Many of my ex-colleagues took a transfer to U.S. ops when given a chance. Even in Germany, in Europe, the pay for engineers in my field (I have left engg a good few years ago now) is about 1.5 to 2times more than here. Apart from Software people, where UK (London) is generally leading, Europe wise. I am not saying the UK is complete crap when it comes to pay/ recognition, but it can do so much better.
its interesting that you have seen such disparities in pay between different countries, did this seem to affect engineers out of proportion to other careers?

personally where i have seen big differences in what engineers earn has been between different industries. i met some really knowledgeable engineers working in power generation (heavy duty gas turbines) who were on mid £45k-ish them moved to oil and gas and met guys who were 15 years younger on £75k. i wouldnt have said these people were smarter, just working in an industry which expected to pay more.
 
That's an odd salary number for doctors. I suspect it's skewed by having lots of junior doctors around, many of whom quit because they don't enjoy the job. Doctors are on a path to near-guaranteed earnings in the top 3% of the country at 70k+. Is there anything similar for engineers as they progress or can you easily get stuck on 35k for your entire career?
i can only really see that happening if you sit on your hands
 
i can only really see that happening if you sit on your hands
There are plenty of well qualified engineers earning salaries of that order. You only have to walk around Abbey Wood to see some of them.

IMHO engineers often get themselves into niches where they are deep experts in a specialisation which floats their boat but for which their isn’t huge commercial demand. I used to see this at Chartered Review panels; very technically capable engineers (far more so than me) who lacked any sort of global or commercial view of their skills.

Equally, much of industry doesn’t value formal accreditation like chartership. It’s the same here in Aus. The current Opal building scandal which made the global press is a result of inadequate supervision by qualified engineers. Engineers Australia has been warning for some time that contractors were self-certifying without using qualified engineers to save money. Like the UK, professional qualification isn’t a statutory requirement to practice. It’s fundamentally different in the States where an engineer has to be licensed to practice.
 
There are plenty of well qualified engineers earning salaries of that order. You only have to walk around Abbey Wood to see some of them.
i can imagine, i applied for a role with DE&S a year or so ago (apparently i'm still in the running....) and the salary was o-k. my plan was to do a year or two to get some experience then hop over to the private side for more money, a problem i'm sure they face a lot of.

i can also see a situation where people hang on to "finish the project", then one naturally merges into another and as the projects all take several years before they know it they're 15-20 years in.

IMHO engineers often get themselves into niches where they are deep experts in a specialisation which floats their boat but for which their isn’t huge commercial demand. I used to see this at Chartered Review panels; very technically capable engineers (far more so than me) who lacked any sort of global or commercial view of their skills.
i get the attraction of it as well. i was the SME on a couple of bits of kit in my last role as i headed up the development team and it's a nice feeling knowing that there isnt much on the topic which can phase you. taken to the extreme you then become the bloke who's the UK's leading expert on ball bearings. each to their own.

the problem is where you get into an industry (which is often just down to pot luck when looking for work), get your safety blanket of knowledge and then your not confident enough to make the leap because the fear of not knowing what you're talking about puts you off.

a friend of mine is somewhere in between, in his mid 30's and has told me previously that he'd be happy if he did the same thing for the rest of his career. i do note that he's on circa £80k though so it is quite comfortable.

Equally, much of industry doesn’t value formal accreditation like chartership. It’s the same here in Aus. The current Opal building scandal which made the global press is a result of inadequate supervision by qualified engineers. Engineers Australia has been warning for some time that contractors were self-certifying without using qualified engineers to save money. Like the UK, professional qualification isn’t a statutory requirement to practice. It’s fundamentally different in the States where an engineer has to be licensed to practice.
that's very interesting. i am chartered but i cant say i think much of it*, i only did it because it looked like it was becoming a bit of a CV requirement.


*for me it lacks a bit of credability because it's easy for engineers on graduate schemes to get through the process (so lots of junior engineers have CEng), whilst not particularly easy for older engineers (who may not have a degree) to attain it.
 

Latest Threads

Top