What is the number one challenge facing UK manufacturing?

British manufacturing can increase its share of the national labour force, by claiming its fair share of educated workers, whatever their background. Annabel Arhin reports.

Kodi Gledhill, Engineering Apprentice at Coca-Cola and The Manufacturer Top 100 Young Pioneer 2017.

With women accounting for only 15% of manufacturing jobs, and minority groups even less well represented, UK manufacturing must change the way it recruits, trains and builds outreach to the community.

Manufacturing leaders believe that widening your talent pool will contribute massively to driving business and productivity growth in 2018 and the years ahead.

Whether it’s looking at our academic pathways to encourage our young and diverse students to consider manufacturing careers, or it’s supporting individuals from entry level all the way up to leadership –  reviewing some of our business processes and outreach programmes can enable inclusion for all people to grow in their talents thus, contributing to business productivity now and in the future.

Now I know, I summed up our issue in a nutshell and it is easier said than done.

However, if we look at the implications of these three overlapping issues now –  Nurture; reaching out to community & STEM promoting, Growth; developing your entry level workforce and repurposing processes to make them gender & culture blind and Leadership; getting the next generation leaders ready in a diverse environment (the three areas of focus of the upcoming Woman and Diversity in Manufacturing Summit, 21 June, Liverpool), we can start making the significant changes for our businesses to grow.

According to Maureen Askew, responsible for leading the strategic development and operational management of the training academy in line with her business priorities for staff development at Unipres Training Academy, believes changing culture perception and the idea that: “manufacturing is male only, will begin to usher in significant change needed to widen our talent pool”.

Kodi Gledhill, Engineering Apprentice at Coca-Cola agrees. The Top 100 Young Pioneer exemplar says, “Being a female engineer is very important to me, I want to lead by example and demonstrate what’s possible when choosing manufacturing apprenticeships as a career path”.

“It is a well-known fact that groups with mixed gender and ethnicity are more creative, and simply more fun. I want to unleash the power of genuine human creativity in engineering when making new-generation products”, adds Olly Dmitriev, Managing Director of the UK’s most innovative air compressors Vert Rotors.

The above manufacturers are among the speakers at the Women and Diversity in Manufacturing Summit, being held in Exhibition Centre Liverpool on the 21 June – the UKs most important manufacturing event leading the way in widening that talent pool. Registration details can be found here.

Women and Diversity in Manufacturing Summit 2018

Women and Diversity in Manufacturing Summit brings together role models, mentors, recruiters and board-level leaders from across the UK manufacturing landscape – we unpack their stories, share their journeys and focus on the path forward.

The interactive conference format sits delegates alongside speakers in a series of small group conversations, creating a relaxed environment for discussion and enabling everyone to lean in and be a part of the industry’s most important conversation.

When: 21 June 2018

Where: Exhibition Centre Liverpool

Register now!