The recently announced ESCO initiative, (which stands for ‘Electronic Systems, Challenges and Opportunities), is a major new UK initiative to encourage growth in the national electronics systems industry, and is something we should all be aware of.
The main body of ESCO’s leadership is formed of prominent electronics systems industry players and government representatives. Its core aim, as stated in its report, released in June, is to foster a bigger, better and more competitive UK electronics systems industry, and to ensure that, by 2020, the UK is still playing a primary role in the global electronics systems industry.
While obviously a healthy electronics systems industry is vital to continuing Britain’s role as an economic big-hitter, the size of the UK electronics systems industry’s contribution to the UK economy is arguably not fully appreciated. According to the ESCO group’s recently released report, setting out its aims, tactics and rationales, the UK electronics systems industry employs some 850,000 people, (around 2.9% of the UK workforce), and contributes around £80 billion to economy annually, (a whopping 5.4% of the country’s GDP).
To understand how successful UK companies can be, one only has to look at IP success stories that are ARM and (EML Wildfire’s client) Imagination Technologies, both of which are held up as prime examples of UK electronics systems industry success stories. Yet, in other countries the relationship between industry, academia and government is stronger than it is in the UK; something we need to correct. As the report points out, ‘A strategic and lasting partnership between the industry and government is fundamental to our future success’.
The initiative’s aims can be summarised as follows:
- Increase the number of people employed within the electronics systems industry to around 1 million
- Increase the contribution to the UK economy to £120 billion (7.1% of the GDP)
The ESCO initiative intends to fulfill these objectives by
- Developing an ESCO leadership forum
- Using ‘sector-focused ambassadors’ to identify supply chain opportunities that could bring electronic systems manufacturing and R&D to the UK
- Engaging more closely with the government
- Engaging more closely with schools and universities in order to foster the next generation of electronics systems industry workers
By the standards of electronics systems industry reports the ESCO report lays out its stall in pretty simple terms. But then, its easy-digestibility is exactly the point: Filled with easy-to-digest economic rationales, the report is intended as a manifesto for the government to get behind the electronics systems sector, as well as a ‘call to arms’ for those within the industry. Look how much money there is to be made here, it seems to say, and how much that money will radiate outwards. Give us your support, and we’ll come up with the innovation.
As a largely tech PR company, EML Wildfire has always stood at the heart of the UK electronics systems industry: As such, we’re very proud to see several past and present clients involved or quoted in the report, including Imagination Technologies and Neul.
EML Wildfire stands 100% behind the ESCO initiative. While many of the details clearly have yet to be finalised, the spirit at the core of the initiative; that a healthy electronics systems sector requires large scale co-ordination, liaising with educational bodies, and high-level government co-ordination, (as a priority), seems bang-on-the-money. Any efforts to propel electronics systems further up the agenda of universities and ministers and the public consciousness, and to communicate that our skills in electronics systems are part of our national heritage, and should be part of our future identity, can only be good.
You can view the full version of the report here.
photo credit: BotheredByBees