Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Task Group

The Engineering Task Group includes representatives from local employers. These include:

  • Akro Valve Ltd
  • Kurt J Lesker
  • TechonTurn
  • General Dynamics

The task group includes representatives from education and training. These include:

  • East Sussex College Group (ESCG)
  • Culture Shift CIC
  • University of Brighton.

Task Group Chair

Dan Wahnon of TechnoTurn took on the role of chair in late 2022/early 2023. Dan graduated in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire. He worked as a development engineer on the Rolls Royce 1000 engine.

Currently (in 2023) he is studying for a Senior Leaders MBA at the University of Chichester. Dan is passionate about training and upskilling, seeing 'every day as a new learning opportunity.' He has come to the role with enthusiasm keen to raise awareness of and promote the engineering sector in the county.

Dan is keen to see as many people learn more about this varied sector. He is an advocate of the 'earn and learn' of apprenticeships and finds women and girls are technically often more able than the men.

Outside work, he enjoys music, F1 and mountain biking.

Task group update Spring/Summer 2023

The group are working hard and closely with local education providers to develop an introduction to engineering course. The hope is to raise interest in making things, with the view of being able to go into CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) entry level work.  With further training, the sector offers a range of highly paid opportunities. 

The CNC machinist role is one of the job videos on the Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing pages of the Careers East Sussex website. 

Engineering employers across East Sussex are keen to work with the colleges and the universities on raising interest and awareness of engineering.  among young people and adults through the task group.  

Priorities for 2023-24 for the Task Group are

  • Increasing training opportunities at operative level for upskilling, career changers 
  • Acting as a platform for keynote speakers to address the employer network around AI (Artificial Intelligence), Net Zero and Automation
  • A county wide campaign promoting the jobs and sector in East Sussex 
  • Increasing the recruitment of Higher Education graduates into the sector locally

The group held a meeting at the University of Brighton in June 2023. They are keen to also visit the decarbonisation centre at Hampden Park and the Institute of Technology facilities at Ore as well as local employers. 

Engineering Task Group meetings

Please find below the minutes of recent task group meetings.

Minutes are not available for publication until approved by the group members a the following meeting. Therefore minutes for June will not appear until after the meeting in September.

The next meeting of the group is due on 21 September 2023. 

Contact Skills East Sussex  if you are a sector employer, training or education provider and want details. Other than your time, and occasional travel, there are no costs to joining Skills East Sussex meetings.  

If you wish to see minutes of a meeting not listed, please please email Skills East Sussex and we will do our best to help.

Task group activity in recent years

Task group members engaged on the following activities to improve awareness of engineering:

  • STEM Sussex applied to the Royal Academy of Engineers Ingenious Awards Programme on behalf of the Engineering Task Group. The proposal was to engage the public with engineers and engineering. It also provided engineers with the skills and opportunities to take part in public engagement.
  • Culture Shift  led a project called ‘Your Town’. The project was funded through the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Fund. This allowed young people aged 11 to 18 in Hastings, Eastbourne and Newhaven to meet with engineers and find out more about what they do.
  • For 2020 to 2021, the Task Group agreed that the following roles will take priority:

    • Mechanical engineer
    • Electrical engineer
    • Processing technician
    • Vehicle engineer.

    Some of this work is completed, including aspects of the roles that support a Net Zero future. 

    Many businesses in the sector are still strong. Brexit impacted the supply chain for vehicles and manufacturing and Covid added to supply chain delays. However, these setbacks also highlighted the benefits of home-grown manufacturing, including raw materials. 

    New car registrations were down during 2020 were down by 29.4%. This represents £20.4 billion in lost sales.  Electric vehicles due to take over from combustion engines by 2030.

    Manufacturing courses under the the Lifetime Skills Guarantee are currently focused on textile design and fashion rather than engineering manufacturing. 

    Areas of success to 2021-22 are

    • Careers provision, helping young people get ready for work
    • Promotional events – STEAM fest
    • Awarded funding for a project to challenge gender stereotyping in engineering
  • The group noted that it was good to see the recognition of need for higher technical skills programmes at levels 4, 5 and 6.