Greater Manchester puts manufacturing back in the spotlight

Posted on 2 Mar 2015 by Callum Bentley

Today sees the publication of Greater Manchester’s Manufacturing Strategy, a six-step plan that is backed by prominent business figures and intends to put manufacturing firmly at the forefront of the city’s agenda.

The board of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP) which includes; David Birch, director of McKinsey and Company; Juergen Maier, managing director of the industry sector (UK & Ireland) for Siemens; Wayne Jones, senior vice president, MAN Diesel & Turbo SE; and is chaired by BT regional director Mike Blackburn, has commissioned the new strategy to ensure that manufacturing continues to be one of the most productive sectors in the region.

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Juergen Maier, managing director of the industry sector (UK & Ireland) for Siemens will join the board of the new strategy.

With the industry set to grow in value from £6.7bn (GVA measured in 2012) to at least £10bn by 2027, Greater Manchester’s Manufacturing Strategy has emerged following an in-depth industry consultation period.  It outlines how the sector can play a critical role in helping the region to prosper and in rebalancing the UK’s economy.

The strategy’s recommendations include establishing a private-sector led Manufacturing Leadership Network, which would serve as a powerful voice for Greater Manchester’s manufacturing base.  It is intended that the network would draw attention to current issues and also complement the work of existing national and regional (North West) bodies.

Another recommendation of the strategy is to establish better collaboration in manufacturing between Greater Manchester skills training facilities, incorporating key private-sector participants and giving skills providers access to the latest manufacturing technologies.  This is already underway through the work of Engineering Futures, a Greater Manchester initiative which launched in Summer 2014 and is supported by the Skills Company, Trafford College and Tameside College.

Mike Blackburn, chair of GM LEP, said: “The manufacturing sector presents a wealth of opportunity for Greater Manchester, and in light of recent announcements from Government about devolving powers to our combined authority, this is undoubtedly an exciting time to be part of the industry.”

“However, there are significant challenges across the sector and we’re keen that our manufacturing base has the appropriate tools to tackle these and develop its trade over the long-term.

“We’re confident that, through the support of industry, we’ve identified the immediate core needs, and we intend the strategy to evolve as its six recommendations are brought to life. We want to continue this dialogue as we move forward to implement initiatives such as the Leaders Network in the coming months.”

Wayne Jones, senior vice president of MAN Diesel & Turbo SE and board member of GM LEP, adds: “As we’ve seen in recent headlines, the UK’s manufacturing industry needs better support in addressing its existing skills gap, especially in the field of engineering. Given this current focus, there could be no better time to launch Greater Manchester’s Manufacturing Strategy, which is seeking to breathe new life into the industry by further raising its profile and bringing more skilled young people into the workforce.”

To view the Greater Manchester Manufacturing Strategy in full click here