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Global Manufacturing Festival: Sheffield hits National Agenda

posted 18 Jan 2011, 05:03 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 15 Feb 2011, 02:24 ]
The Global Manufacturing Festival, which will take place in Sheffield, 14th – 24th March 2011 in association with the Financial Times, hosted its national launch in London today – Tuesday 18th January 2011. 

The poignant festival was described by Mark Prisk MP, Minister for Business and Enterprise, as “significant” and “timely” given that in December 2010 the sector grew at its fastest rate in 16 years. 

The London launch event, held in Westminster, highlighted the importance of advanced manufacturing and engineering to the UK’s economic future, the magnitude of inspiring the next generation of engineers and provided a taster of what’s to come during the festival in Sheffield – which takes place in association with the Financial Times and EEF. 

Attendees, from a multitude of backgrounds such as engineering, construction, manufacturing, law, finance, education and politics, heard from a mix of public and private sector leaders and manufacturing apprentices including Mark Prisk MP; Chris Squires, Procurement Manager at EDF Energy; Peter Marsh, the Financial Times Manufacturing Editor; Professor Bill Speirs, The Master of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire - Sheffield; Martin Temple CBE, Chairman at EEF; and Will Butler-Adams, CEO of Brompton Bicycles Ltd – producers of the world renowned folding bike. 

Business Minister Mark Prisk MP said: "The Global Manufacturing Festival is a significant and timely festival for this country to host in 2011. Manufacturing is leading the way in rebalancing the economy and reducing the budget deficit so it is vital that we work with industry to make sure that exports continue to grow.

"Over the next four years we are cutting corporation tax from 28% to 24% and attracting new talent to manufacturing by expanding the number of adult apprenticeships available, so by 2014-15 there will be funding for 75,000 more adults to start than under the previous Government’s plans.

"On January 25th we will also host a summit attended by manufacturers, Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and other Government departments to identify the challenges and barriers to growth."

Manufacturing is increasingly taking the lead on the national agenda. At the recent 2010 Confederation of British Industry annual conference, The Prime Minister, David Cameron, pledged to invest £200 Million into technology and innovation centres over the next four years and highlighted Sheffield as a benchmark for such centres. South Yorkshire based organisations: Rolls Royce, Boeing and The University of Sheffield, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), were specifically mentioned as leaders in the field.  

Will Butler-Adams, CEO of Brompton Bicycles Ltd, designers and manufacturers of the infamous folding bike, commented: “There is common misconception that there is no manufacturing in the UK. Yet we remain the 8th largest manufacturer in the world; leaders in Formula 1, Aerospace, Defence, and of course, folding bikes, to name but a few. These industries contribute to somewhere in the region of 18% of GDP.

“In parallel, the next generation of manufacturers, when asked to name a living engineer, came up with the mechanic from Coronation Street! The personal pride and recognition of the title ‘Engineer’ has been whittled away in the last fifty years and this needs to be revived to bring the brightest minds back into making things and delivering real value to Great Britain PLC.”

The Global Manufacturing Festival: Sheffield is being led by Square 5 Ltd in partnership with Creativesheffield and Business & Education South Yorkshire; is sponsored by Nabarro LLP and Firth Rixson; and will comprise of a series of focused events, workshops, exhibitions and conferences with leading representatives from the world of manufacturing, politics and education. 

Alison Bettac, UK Learning and Development Manager at Firth Rixson, commented on the future of UK manufacturing and Firth Rixson’s role as a headline sponsor for the festival: “Today, ‘Customer Focus’ means ‘Global Focus’ and Firth Rixson are helping to reshape global manufacturing, in particular the aerospace sector. Growth is important to UK economies and this is why we are supporting the Global Manufacturing Festival as a Headline Sponsor. 

“We believe that without preparation for growth within the Manufacturing Sector, it will be difficult to face the challenges ahead of us. The skills gaps through people development, building for the future through Apprentice and Graduate Programmes and ensuring that innovation and continuous improvement remain in the forefront of our minds, in all we do, is vital to all manufacturing businesses.”

The Sheffield region have invited businesses and individuals from around the world who are involved in this global sector to descend on Sheffield region in March 2011 in order to make new contacts, identify new opportunities and discuss common issues and best practice.