New support in the North

Posted on 18 Dec 2008 by The Manufacturer

A new organisation called the East Durham Engineering Forum (EDEF) is planning to implement a series of support measures to ensure the manufacturing industry in the region is best placed to deal with the downturn.

EDEF says its main aims are: to promote inter-trading opportunities and collaboration within the East Durham area; inspire students to want to be part of the manufacturing sector through industry-based activities; and to support small business with HR, legal, financial, health safety advice that only large companies can afford.

Its mission statement reads: “To create a sustainable competitive advantage through people and key business process development.”

As an example of its work, it helped a young local electrical maintenance apprentice, Lee Johnson, find another job when the firm he was with could no longer afford his trainer. The new job was negotiated by EDEF business development manager, Bill Marley.

‘This is the best news I have had of late. It is especially pleasing to think that even in these tough times the East Durham Engineering Forum through its contacts are able to help Lee to continue his apprenticeship and form a new career’, explains Bill. ‘Assisting Lee is just one small example of how the forum can benefit the manufacturing and engineering sector, we’ve already secured over 1 million pounds worth of funding for companies in the region within the last 6 months. It’s essential that we all work together to overcome the affects of the credit crunch’.

EDEF’s members include the industrial vehicle and equipment maker Caterpillar and architectural metal fabricator Sotech. EDEF says it is looking to double its membership over the coming months.

For more information about EDEF contact Bill Marley at [email protected] or visit

Img: From left to right: Steve Fannan (HR manager, BSR – Lee’s new firm), Lee Johnson (electrical maintenance apprentice, BSR), Bill Marley (business development manager, EDEF).