Guild of Makers to grow UK’s £250m ‘Maker Movement’

Posted on 12 Mar 2018 by Jonny Williamson

Engineer and presenter on BBC’s Robot Wars, Dr Lucy Rogers, is launching a nationwide Guild of Makers to help grow Britain’s craft industries into an industry worth more than its current annual value of £250m.

Guild Of Makers LogoLaunching The Guild of Makers as a way of driving the ‘maker movement’, Dr Lucy Rogers was inspired into action after trying to join a professional membership organisation for Makers, but finding out there wasn’t one.

The professional maker and founder explained: “Cottage industries almost died with the Industrial Revolution, but they are now returning as the Maker industry, and it needs formal organisation.”

Beginning in the US, where the maker craze has grown into an industry worth billions of dollars, increasing numbers of hobbyists are turning professional.

From knitting to electronics, wood carving to welding, and increasingly in digital skills like coding and applying electronics to craft-made products, makers are turning their creative hobbies into their professions.

The wave is being driven thanks to the increasing affordability and flexibility of technology, with 3D printers, CNC machines, robotics and connected devices now within arms-reach of almost everyone.

Some estimates place the value of the whole UK craft industry much higher. In 2014, the Crafts Council claimed it had calculated the value of craft skills to the UK economy at £3.4bn.

Dr Rogers believes that in Britain people tend to underestimate the power of small, creative businesses that support jobs, but also teach highly useful skills.

In 2017, there were reportedly 5.7 million businesses in the UK; 5.5 million, or 96%, of these were micro-businesses, employing just nine people or less.

Furthermore, micro-businesses accounted for 33% of employment and 22% of turnover.

Dr Rogers noted: “These days, if you ask someone ‘What do you make?’, the reply will tend to be about money and bonuses.

“It’s becoming increasingly important – against the tide of digitalisation, virtual experiences, quick-fix solutions, and suspicion of hard-won expertise – to celebrate the making of things, with care, with love and with a deep understanding of materials.”

The Guild of the Makers is being officially launched at an event in Birmingham on 16 March.

More information can be found here