Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable formally opened the See Inside Manufacturing programme at the Vauxhall plant in Luton yesterday.
The series of coordinated factory visits and activities is designed to get school children, graduates and their mentors into manufacturing companies, beginning with companies in the automotive sector.
“For too many young people the word manufacturing is a turn off,” said Dr Cable. “We are determined to shake up old fashioned views of manufacturing and through [this] campaign and the overwhelming support from the automotive industry, we will give young people the chance to see the exciting face of modern manufacturing, which is highly skilled, high tech and highly paid.”
The ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ campaign will deliver a national programme of activities throughout October to encourage the next generation of budding engineers. Over 20 automotive companies across the UK, including England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will open their doors to graduates and school children, offering a range of hands-on activities, designed to highlight the career opportunities within one of the UK’s most diverse industries.
Dr Cable was at Vauxhall Luton to formally kickstart ‘See Inside’ and to announce the opening of the first Technology Innovation Centre (TIC). The high value manufacturing TIC will benefit from £140m of funding from the government-funded Technology Strategy Board.
On the importance of opening factory gates to children, the Business Secretary said “A worrying poll out last week found that only one in 10 children aged 11 to 14 thought that engineering was an important job and even ranked being a politician as a better choice of career!”
CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Paul Everitt, said, ““The scope and scale of the UK’s automotive sector presents fantastic career and skills opportunities for young people. More than 700,000 people are employed across design, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, aftermarket and retail sectors and UK engineers and executives are increasingly filling top jobs around the world.
Director of policy at manufacturers’ organisation EEF, Steve Radley, added: “As well as investing in people now, we also need to invest in our workforce of the future to ensure we have a steady flow of the brightest and best entering our sector. We have to show our young people and the teachers and parents that advise them that manufacturing is a modern, vibrant high technology sector that can offer highly rewarding and well paid careers. Industry has a valuable part to play in this process and the campaign to open its doors to show off all that is good in our sector is a vital first step.”
Automotive companies including Aston Martin, Bentley, Ford, GKN Driveline, Jaguar Land Rover, Leyland Trucks, Millbrook and Nissan are staging a variety of activities in October as part of the ‘See Inside’ initiative. To find out more about the activities click here.