Can an engineer turn his hand to business?

The latest eviction from The Apprentice was Glenn Ward, dismissed from the programme by Lord Sugar with the parting words: "I've never come across an engineer who can turn his hands to business. You're fired."

Lord Sugar conveniently forgot people like Robin Saxby, BEng in Electronics, CEng, FREng, who pushed ARM onto the global stage, James Dyson, famous for his range of high tech vacuum cleaners and the other engineers who comprise 15% of the directors of FTSE companies.

It was a throwaway line, but one which brings into focus the misconceptions of the role and the status of engineers. Britain needs more engineers, not more City speculators. Despite the appearances, Britain cannot rebuild its economy on the basis of services alone, we also have to make things and, in the future, we have to make many more things.

Looking at some British companies who failed, despite having great technology, you could be excused for believing there are very few business people who can turn their hands to business.

Graham Pitcher

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