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15 Dec 2011 05:12:37

Future of Manufacturing debate

Pictured (l-r) Andrew Peters, Dr Alexander Roy and Peter Law
Sustainable energy manufacturing and engineering business ENER-G, in Salford, was the venue for a recent breakfast briefing on the future of manufacturing.

The event presented research findings by New Economy on the state of advanced manufacturing in Greater Manchester, which has the second largest cluster of advanced manufacturers (employing 38,000 people) outside Birmingham. The sub region also has more hi-tech manufacturing businesses than any other UK area, except London.

Delegates heard how ENER-G had grown from a University of Manchester spin-out to major knowledge-driven business exporting low and zero carbon technologies and services across the globe.

Peter Law, Operations Director for ENER-G stressed the prestige that ‘Made in Britain’ still carries in overseas markets and the importance of developing a new generation of manufacturing and engineering talent through ENER-G’s apprenticeship and graduate development programmes. He urged the Government to provide more support for apprenticeships to stretch beyond funding the first two-years’ college fees and called for more streamlined client relationship management from the region’s business support providers.

Andrew Peters, Divisional Director for Siemens Drive Technologies, outlined the company’s strategic approach to future manufacturing based around the increasing requirement for sustainability due to megatrends such as the shift to urbanisation.

He told delegates that Siemens was opening a renewable energy engineering centre at its Princess Parkway site in Manchester, and would be opening a worldwide headquarter for sustainability in London next year.

His message to policymakers was to improve the regional infrastructure to create the right conditions for large scale inward investment that would generate the supply chain opportunities for smaller regional businesses, and would attract and retain young talent.

Dr Alexander Roy, Head of Research for New Economy, showed that whilst manufacturing has demonstrated stable output over recent years, employment has continued to fall due to higher productivity and increased automation within the sector. He said that the resurgence of manufacturing in Greater Manchester relied on high growth ‘manu-services’ businesses using capital intensive techniques and focusing on research and design and after sales service to deliver competitive advantage on a global scale.

The New Economy report is available http://ne.stardotserver.co.uk/downloads/1263-Advanced-Manufacturing-Summ

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