At this year’s MTA Annual General Meeting (AGM) many of the issues raised focused on the future prospects for the manufacturing technologies sector in the UK. Members of the association strongly supported comments from guest speaker Professor Sir Mike Gregory on sustainability and the manufacturing sector.
At the AGM the President, Mark Ridgway OBE, reminded members of the MTA’s co-operation with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield, now part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, over the introduction of a commercial engineering apprenticeship pathway and the hosting of the Deputy Prime Minister at the launch of the initiative in February.
Ridgeway said, “On a wider front your Association is working to ensure that the Catapult centres themselves remain relevant and supportive to the needs of industry in general and our members in particular.”
The President also stressed that the Association needs to ensure the relevance of new government initiatives like the Employer Ownership of Skills programme. He added, “Any MTA Strategy must have its members’ needs at its core but it ignores at its peril the non-market forces of Government. Aligning the latter to the needs of the former is a major strategic objective for your Association.”
Mark Ridgway paid tribute to the strong sales performance to date for MACH 2014 and added that, “The delivery of a great MACH in April will be a cornerstone of the Association’s year.” The President also assured members that he will continue to raise the Association’s profile both at home and abroad.
During the AGM it was announced that Tony Bowkett, Managing Director of Nikken Kosakusho Europe Ltd had been nominated by the Board as the successor to Mark Ridgway’s Presidency. Tony will support the President over the next twelve months and will stand down as the MTA’s Honorary Treasurer as soon as a replacement is found.
The guest speaker Professor Sir Mike Gregory, Head of the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) at Cambridge University, addressed members during lunch on the challenges manufacturing faces in the 21st Century. He suggested the prospects for UK manufacturing were stronger than for many years but urged members to think globally and help shape the government’s initiatives for the sector.
Professor Gregory concluded by outlining what he considers are the key requirements for manufacturing to be a sustainable sector in the future. He recognised the importance of: encouraging young people to take up a career in engineering; ensuring a proper balance between the manufacturing and service sectors; stressing the importance of businesses thinking internationally and promoting a more environmentally responsible attitude by reducing pollution and energy use.