Manufacturing summit begins, skills academy announced

Posted on 25 Jan 2011 by The Manufacturer

Some of the UK's leading manufacturers are meeting with ministers today to discuss how to work together to promote industry and challenge the myth that Britain doesn't make anything anymore.

This week-long national event, which will bring together 100 delegates from manufacturing, is the first of its kind and will offer an exiting insight into engineering and manufacturing.

The UK is a world leader in the production of some high tech products and the latest economic figures show that manufacturing growth has reached a 16-year high. Despite this, there is a concern that the outdated image of the sector is restricting its ability to attract the best talent which is stifling growth.

“There is a common misconception that there is no manufacturing in the UK,” said Will Butler-Adams of Brompton Bicycle. “We are one of the largest manufacturers in the world; leaders in Formula 1, Aerospace, Defence and of course folding bikes to name a few; contributing some 18% of GDP.”

To address these challenges Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have asked manufacturing businesses to throw open their doors to students and teachers to help improve the image of UK industry.

“I want our young people to see that British manufacturing offers well-paid and rewarding careers,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. “Throwing open the doors of our factories to the engineers of tomorrow will show them the satisfaction of making things is hard to beat.”

Skills Minister John Hayes announced a new National Skills Academy (NSA) for Composites and Biotechnology at the summit. The Academy, which will form part of the National Skills Academy for Process Industries, will receive up to £1.98 million of funding over three years, matched by employers.

Working with employers, the Life Sciences Advisory Council, the National Composites Centre and specialist training providers to develop new professional standards and training programmes that meet the fast evolving skills needs of the process industries.

“With the public sector set to play a smaller role in the economy, Britain needs a stronger private sector to generate growth,” said Martin Temple, chairman of EEF, the manufacturer’s organisation. “Manufacturing will play a leading role at the heart of this new economy and today’s summit is a welcome first step in focussing on the growth strategy we need to make this happen.”