Make it in Great Britain, as BIS launches new campaign

Posted on 16 Nov 2011

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has launched a campaign that wants to improve the image of manufacturing among investors and young people, culminating in a ‘best in class’ exhibition during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“Make it in Great Britain” is a new campaign led by BIS to help change the negative perception of manufacturing by engaging more with schools, parents, teachers and investors.

Launched on Tuesday by Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable and business minister, and now manufacturing minister, Mark Prisk, the campaign will appoint 30 senior businessmen as ‘industry champions’ to help improve the public’s understanding of modern manufacturing.

The campaign will culminate in a six-week interactive exhibition of manufacturing processes and companies at the Science Museum in London, running concurrently with the Olympic Games in summer 2012.

Many companies, who can demonstrate themselves as exemplars of good manufacturing, can display their products, people and processes at the exhibition. For more information on how to apply for a place, go to

Industry champions appointed so far are:

Michael Ankers, chief executive of the Construction Products Association; Stephen Blatchford, chief executive of Chas A Blatchford, makers of prosthetic devices and limbs; Will Butler-Adams, MD of Brompton Bicycle; Joe Greenwell, chairman of Ford of Britain; Ian McCubbin, senior vice president of GlaxoSmithkline; Michael Ryan, VP of Bombardier Aerospace and Steve Uden, head of skills at Microsoft UK.

Speaking at the event, Vince Cable referred to the government’s ‘new industrial strategy’, comprising three main components. Firstly, the Technology and Innovation Centres, or TICs, the first of which in high value manufacturing (HVM) was launched last month by the Technology Strategy Board. The HVM TIC is designed to reduce the risk and cost for companies, especially SMES, of getting new product concepts tested and to market.

Training, people and apprenticeships is the second strand, exemplified by government’s announcement today of further support for Apprenticeships. The support also pledges to reduce the bureaucracy associated with finding and appointing apprentices.

Finally, the strategy is focused on helping companies with “financial support of the right kind, leveraging in private investment and promoting funding mechanisms such as the Green Investment Bank,” Dr Cable said.

Make it in Great Britain follows hard on the heals of ‘See Inside Manufacturing’, the programme of visits by schools – including teachers and parents – to automotive companies throughout the UK in October.

Media attention of the latest series of government activities to promote manufacturing was raised as a key factor for the “Make It” campaign’s success.

Asked by Philip Greenish, chief executive of the Royal Society of Engineers, to what extent had the government engaged with the BBC and mainstream press to guarantee good publicity for the campaign, Mark Prisk could not confirm the level of engagement BIS had procured, but agreed that it was important to talk to the media about the campaign.

Will Stirling