Celebrating 30 years of Photonics Scotland

Celebrating 30 years of Photonics Scotland

Celebrating 30 years of Photonics Scotland

On Thursday 16th May 2024, Photonics Scotland held an event at the Claydon Hotel in Glasgow to celebrate 30 years since the Scottish Optoelectronics Association was formed.

The SOA is one of the world’s oldest photonics organisations. Since its formation in 1994, the network has supported photonics companies and academic groups across Scotland, creating an enviable global reputation in the process. Rebranded to Photonics Scotland in 2019 the organisation is a leading and meaningful cluster support team and has a clear vision for the future of Photonics to 2030.

Scotland’s Photonics cluster is a fantastic cluster of high-achieving deep tech companies that are underpinned by world-class and world-leading education establishments and energised by strong investment activity. Jewels in the crown include Coherent and M2 Lasers, Optos as well as significant defense companies Thales and Leonardo. A raft of early-stage and SME companies are coming through and that is what is most exciting about this growing cluster.

From being in the room, the cluster benefits from healthy respect and support for each other and a sense of collaboration that I hope will continue to help drive the constituent members forward.

There is significant optimism over the opportunities for companies in this sector to grow and to continue to thrive and demonstrate that Photonics in Scotland already valued at £1.4 billion to the economy is a high-value contributor not only to Scottish and UK industry but the global Photonics market.

Opening up Photonics, a key drive to encourage more women and other underrepresented groups into the industry, which may be more than helpful in solving some of the talent shortage that always comes with a fast growing highly specialist industry that is crying out for experienced engineers. On that note it was pleasing to see Shahida Imani the non-white, female CEO of Singular Photonics and Vice Chair of the Photonics Leadership Group speaking at the event. Quite the beacon of diversity!

Positively we are seeing companies buck the trend of a year of slight malaise that often accompanies the lead up to an election and the Photonics industry continues to grow and increase headcount.

Enigma People Solutions has helped several clients already this year to fill a range of key technical roles including Software, Optical and Laser Engineering, Laser Sales and Service roles as well as Semiconductor Processing.

Entering 2024 felt as if there was a slight pause in activity with a hope that the 2nd half of the year would see increased activity. Gladly the Photonics market has been quite active in the 1st half of the year and if my many conversations at the 30-year celebration of Photonics Scotland are anything to go buy Photonics in Scotland is in rude health with clear opportunities to grow, albeit with the associated challenges.

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