The Manufacturer Podcast: National Manufacturing Day Special

Posted on 7 Jul 2022 by Tom St John

The editorial team are back with a special episode of The Manufacturer Podcast - how are industry influencers trying to help out businesses and present a true reflection of the diverse nature of manufacturing?

Hi there listener – we have another special episode for you to mark National Manufacturing Day 2022.

Today, as part of a UK-wide Open House, and to celebrate NMD, manufacturers are opening the doors to their factories and sites and inviting people in for a behind-the-scenes look at how their facilities work. Make UK are heading this up in partnership with a host of UK manufacturers, in a bid to showcase the diversity of our sector, the range of highly skilled jobs on offer and the amazing opportunities for reskilling and career development within manufacturing. Jamie Cater, Senior Policy Manager at Make UK starts by giving an overview of National Manufacturing Day.

We also look back over some high profile interviews that we’ve conducted over the last year, to give you a taste of the issues affecting manufacturers, and what the sector, as well as government can do to drive a continuation of innovation, sustainable growth and diverse workforces, to name but a few aspects.

Listen back to interviews with Lee Rowley, Industry Minister and Member of Parliament for Northeast Derbyshire, Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the Confederation of British Industry, (CBI) founder of Cobra Beer and a cross party peer in the UK House of Lords and Rosa Wilkinson, Policy Director at The High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

We hope you enjoy this episode!


 Jamie Cater at Make UK outlining the purpose of National Manufacturing Day 


“National Manufacturing Day is a chance to showcase and celebrate UK Manufacturing – particularly the career opportunities that are on offer in the sector.

amie Cater, Make UK, Policy Director

“It’s also a chance to dispel some of the myths about working in manufacturing, and to help employers recruit local talent and attract people into the sector. We’re framing the day around the skills gaps in manufacturing, which has persisted over many years. Lots of our members are reporting issues around skills gaps and labour shortages. This is part of the attempt, I suppose, to help to address that.

“We’ve got over 100 manufacturing employers of all shapes and sizes, across all regions of the UK, who have pledged to open their doors for the day. Their local communities can see how these workplaces function and learn more about career opportunities. This is about demonstrating manufacturing as a modern, innovative sector to work in. There are lots of high quality training opportunities, particularly apprenticeships, for high skilled, well paid jobs in the sector – and that’s not just available to the younger generation.

“We expect manufacturers on National Manufacturing Day to be welcoming school leavers and graduates, but also adults – local residents in those communities who might be looking for opportunities to upskill, retrain or move into a new sector. There are really valuable opportunities for them as well. We know that manufacturing as a whole pays around 13% above the national average salary, so it is a sector with plenty of well paid opportunities.”

Lee Rowley MP on manufacturing resilience


“When I’ve been out in the sector, talking to manufacturers from all over the country, they’ve been telling me that a key lesson learned during this uncertain period is how to think through what needs to be done at speed, and how to be as flexible as possible. That might sound obvious, but they’ve all delivered that brilliantly.

Lee Rowley MP

“And I know the manufacturers that I’ve seen are reflective of the wider sector as a whole. There are some broader questions for us, as a society and as a country, and then more broadly, as a world.

In the UK we want to be open and internationalist; it’s in the sector’s best interests, given the large proportion of exports which come from manufacturing, and just how integrated they are into global supply chains.

“I think it is appropriate that we think about resilience in our supply chains. Some of what we’re seeing is a set of unique and extraordinary circumstances that we haven’t seen in over a century, excluding the current geopolitical challenges in Europe. However, this gives us the opportunity to think about what we want our manufacturing sector to look like in the years to come, and how that fits in a much broader global model; how do we continue to trade closely with others, and how do we ensure we have the greatest possible relationships all around the world.”

Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE on what government should be doing


“We’ve all suffered, all businesses including manufacturers – with labour shortages, inflation, an energy crisis, at one stage queues at fuel pumps, with interest rates going up as well. And on top of that, tax is going up which I think is a mistake. The Indian budget is about a month before ours and last year the Indian government stated it wouldn’t increase taxes because businesses have suffered so much and it would stifle recovery.

“I spoke at an event for the Indian budget this year and much like the previous year, India hasn’t increased taxes again. And what has the result of this been? India is now predicted to have the fastest growth rate of any major economy in the world at 9%. That is what happens when you don’t put up taxes. What is key at a time like this, is generating investment and growth. In manufacturing, for example, the Super Deduction is a great initiative to incentivise investment, but it’s coming to an end next year.

“This needs to be a long-term investment, in fact, we could go on further. The Director General of the CBI has suggested that to incentivise investment, you can have all investments fully written off against tax when you make them. That’s the sort of measure that we need to incentivise investment.”

Rosa Wilkinson on the perceived image of manufacturing

Rosa W

“I was very proud to be part of the Ventilator Challenge Consortium in 2022. This should have made people realise that if we want the very best medical technologies and equipment, somebody has got to make it. But unless they can make it in ways that remain affordable to our healthcare professionals, we’re not going to be able to use them. Unless they can get the equipment to the right place at the right time, which requires people to make vehicles, then we’re not going to have that equipment. So manufacturing really does matter. People get excited, for example, about saving the planet. Without manufacturing we cannot do that.

“I’m proud to be part of the Royal Academy of Engineering External Affairs Committee. Every year we talk about This is Engineering campaign. If you watch any of their videos – sexy as hell! We’ve got to get that message out generally, because I think that the image of manufacturing very often, certainly in the past 20 years or even 30 years, has been that manufacturing is failing and it’s about to fall over. ‘We don’t make anything anymore.’ I live in London, I can remember at least one taxi driver saying that to me – it’s rubbish. This is a thriving sector and it’s growing.”

Find out about everything that’s going on in our article covering National Manufacturing Day