Our 2018 predictions on Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, which most British people associate with Bill Murray being made to repeat the same day over and over in the 1993 movie.

But the real meaning of the US-based tradition is prediction-making – after all, the groundhog’s behaviour in this annual event supposedly predicts the weather.

With that in mind, here are some of our predictions for the rest of the year and beyond. Let’s hope ours are more accurate than the groundhog’s success rate of 39%.

Construction continues to build momentum in UK cities

Visit any major UK city and you’ll see cranes towering overhead in abundance. This is evidence of a massive construction boom carrying over from last year.

In fact, for some cities, construction is at its busiest in a decade. The demand for new residential, student, commercial and education sites is feeding record-breaking activity.

This is fantastic news for the construction, architectural and indeed the whole built environment sector. After increasing our own headcount in this area last year to meet demand from our clients, it looks likely we will be doing the same again in 2018.

New skills to open up new opportunities in Automotive

A Royal Navy recruitment video once famous told us that if we could fix a car, we could learn to fix an attack helicopter. However, with further developments in electric powertrains, autonomous driving and advanced communication systems, it seems likely there will be a switch back to the automotive industry for skilled engineers with military experience, as well as other technology-based sectors.

Manufacturers are in fierce competition with both established and fresh-faced competition to recruit the right skills and take the lead in this emerging phase of automotive technology.

Our Automotive team at Millbank grew significantly in 2017 and if demand continues to grow as it has been, it’s sure to get even bigger in 2018.

Could Solid-State Lithium Batteries Power the Future?

For a longer-term prediction, let’s look to battery technology. Many people say that better batteries are a necessity for a fossil fuel-free future and the success of electric vehicles.

At present, China dominates production of current generation lithium-ion batteries, but the UK is working hard to be at the forfront of what may be the next generation – solid-state lithium batteries, touted to have more capacity than what’s available now.

Producing such batteries at scale would require new manufacturing processes, the creation of which would be an opportunity for the UK to be a world leader.

The UK government has pledged funds for research into battery technology under its Industrial Strategy to the tune of £246m, while Dyson has promised £1bn in investment in battery technology in support of a bid to enter the electric car market by 2020.

If battery production does become a major part of British manufacturing, Millbank will be there to provide the skills businesses need to take advantage of it.

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