Government launches new framework for UK manufacturers
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Issued 08 Sep 2008
The Government today unveiled a new strategy for the UK's manufacturing
sector - 'New Challenges, New Opportunities' - to help UK firms take advantage
of changing global trends in manufacturing.
In bringing forward its refreshed manufacturing strategy, developed by the
Department for Business and the Department for Innovation, Universities and
Skills, in partnership with industry, the Government is reaffirming is
commitment to the sector as a key part of a mixed and balanced UK economy in the
The strategy brings together almost £150 million of medium term support for
UK manufacturing, and sets out Government's view of what the sector needs for
success in the long term - including seizing the opportunities of the low carbon
economy, supporting skills, realising overseas opportunities, and improving the
perceptions and understanding of manufacturing.
The government recognises these are demanding times and is committed to doing
all it can to help manufacturers to get through them. But despite the current
challenging global economic climate, and recent downturns in the sector, there
is reason to be confident. And it is right to have a medium term framework to
help businesses emerge from these challenging conditions and remain competitive
in an increasingly globalised sector.
Britain has the open and flexible markets that will allow British business to
react to changing and challenging circumstances and manufacturing is still very
much a UK success story and the unsung hero of the UK's economy.
Business Secretary John Hutton said: "Manufacturing is central to the success
of the UK economy and it is vital the sector has the right foundations to endure
the current economic slowdown and emerge stronger and fitter than ever.
"We are the world's sixth largest manufacturer - the industry accounts for
over half our exports, contributes £150 billion to the economy and around three
million jobs. But we need to recognise that the global landscape is changing so
we can help UK manufacturers stay ahead of the game. I want the UK to be at the
forefront of opportunities opened up by the move towards a low carbon economy.
With the right support in place, we can grow our nuclear and renewables
industries to become world-leaders in green technologies, supporting hundreds of
thousands of "green collar jobs.
"And for many years the industry's success has suffered from a lack of public
recognition, and it is time we redressed this balance. We must attract more
talented young people - the lifeblood of future success - into the industry and
ensure that this talent is nurtured and developed."
Skills Secretary John Denham said: "We want to support innovation in UK
manufacturing by maintaining a world-class research and development
infrastructure, through intelligent use of Government procurement and regulation
to stimulate markets and the growth of innovative business, and to build
"We want businesses to be able to nurture and develop the talent of their
people, so we will make it easier for manufacturing employers to access skills
support and extend the number of high-quality apprenticeships available by
supporting firms in training additional apprentices.
"Building on the successes of our innovation strategy, we'll continue to
drive innovation in high-value manufacturing, with the Technology Strategy Board
investing an additional £24m in research and development to help British
manufacturers not only maintain but increase their technological and innovative
edge over global competitors."
The strategy sets out Government's view of what the sector needs for success
in the long term. It includes:
Seizing the opportunities of the low carbon economy
Next year, a low carbon industrial strategy will address the challenges
facing manufacturers as they try to reduce their carbon footprint and the huge
opportunities from investment in energy and a shift to a low carbon economy. The
Office of Nuclear Development will work with industry partners to develop the
nuclear supply chain and maximise high value-added work captured by UK
manufacturers from an estimated £20bn capital expenditure in nuclear. And a new
Office for Renewable Energy Deployment will be established to address barriers
to renewables deployment including helping to develop the UK supply chain.
Nuclear and renewables alone could create up to 260,000 jobs over the next ten
There will be a new focus on apprenticeships. This will see 1,500 new
manufacturing apprenticeships, in addition to the 9,000 places announced earlier
this year which will increase the total number of manufacturing apprenticeships
by over 10%. We will expand the new places by inviting bids from larger
manufacturers to train additional apprenticeships, including for their supply
chains. And for manufacturers, there will be a simplification of the ways they
can access support on skills and training with a MoU published today by the
skills agencies on how they will work to do that.
Realising overseas opportunities
Manufacturing attracts more FDI to the UK than any other country in Europe
and globally the UK is second only the US. Manufacturing growth in other
countries means opportunities for the UK. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will
allocate additional resources to target a package of new support for 600 UK
companies of all sizes to identify manufacturing value chain opportunities in
India and China. And the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) will advise on
using and protecting IP in these markets.
Improving technology networks
In addition to the existing centre in Yorkshire and the centre currently
being built in Glasgow, there will be a new Manufacturing Technology Centre in
Coventry. It will have industrial scale pre-production and demonstration
facilities, which could lead to £130 million of investment in business-led
applied research and its exploitation over the next 10 years. And the Technology
Strategy Board will invest £24 million into research central to high vale added
Changing the image of manufacturing
A new body, 'Manufacturing Insight' will be tasked with making the public
perception of manufacturing reflect the realist of a successful, modern and
broad sector and ensuring young people are aware of the exciting career
opportunities available will be established. There will also be a 'Manufacturing
the Future' schools campaign to promote manufacturing career prospects to young
Making the most of 'intangibles'
Firms in the UK are using other areas of leading British skills and industry
to make them more globally competitive. UK and global businesses are growing
their investment in intangible or knowledge assets, such as software, design,
brand building in order to improve their global competitiveness and to meet the
changing needs of customers. The Design Council and Regional Development
Agencies will implement the findings of the current review of the Designing
Demand programme to increase penetration of the programme across the regions. We
have supported the creation of the UK Design Skills Alliance and will work with
the Alliance to help ensure the world leading UK design sector has the skills
required by manufacturers to compete in global markets.
The refreshed strategy is intended to inform dynamic process and will shape
further new policies and programmes in the future. It replaces the Government's
manufacturing strategy of 2002, which was the first strategy for the sector for
more than 30 years.
1. "Manufacturing: New Challenges, New Opportunities," and supplementary
materials published jointly by the Department for Innovation, Universities and
Skills and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, are
2. The refreshed strategy is based on extensive consultation and working with
the Ministerial Advisory Group on Manufacturing (MAG) and other stakeholders.
3. Rise in applications to study STEM subjects at university. UCAS figures
for applicants accepted for entry in autumn 2007 show there have been increases
in acceptances for STEM subjects. This includes physics (+9.8%), chemistry
(+8.8%), biology (+3.5%), maths (+9.3%), Combined maths/computer science
(+16.3%), as well as most of the engineering subjects including chemical
engineering (+11.5%), Civil engineering (+10.3%) and Mechanical engineering
4. STEM in the labour market. DIUS is leading a study, in collaboration with
BERR, DCSF and the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, to analyse the demand for
STEM skills from all employers to understand employer needs and the UK's future
needs for STEM skills. Key Stakeholders including CBI, Research Councils, EEF,
BCB and others will be involved in gathering evidence and interpreting its
findings. The report will be produced in October 2008.
5. Working with schools and colleges. In June this year John Denham asked two
university Vice Chancellors - John Coyne, VC of Derby University and Julia
Goodfellow, Kent VC and past Chief Executive of the BBSRC, to report to him on
how volunteer universities could work directly with schools to raise attainment
in the key STEM subjects, especially with a view to reaching schools where
science performance is poor in order to help deliver our widening participation
6. Science and engineering ambassadors (SEA). Through the Science and
Engineering Ambassadors programme, more than 20,000 expert volunteers
representing companies and organisations of all sizes are supporting school
activities, offering mentoring, career guidance and are positive role models.
There is a target to increase SEAs to 27,000 by 2011.
7. Science funding. The science budget will increase from £3.4bn per year,
this year to almost £4 billion per year by 2010/11 - taking Government support
for the UK's research base to its highest level ever. We remain second only to
the US in global scientific excellence (as measured by citations), while
collaboration between the research base and business continues to grow ever
8. Innovation and the Technology Strategy Board. We want to make sure that
Britain is the best place to run an innovative business or service - this is
critical to the UK's future prosperity, our quality of life and future job
prospects - and, in March 2008, published a White Paper, Innovation Nation, to
help to achieve this. The Technology Strategy Board will develop and lead a
strategic programme worth £1 billion over the next three years. The TSB will be
investing £100M in eight collaborative R&D technology areas.
9. Apprenticeships. Over the past ten years, the Government has more than
doubled the number of young people and adults starting apprenticeships. Last
year, 184,000 people started high-quality apprenticeships spanning the entire
economy - from veterinary nursing to film production. Ministers anticipate the
numbers will grow further over the next 10 years as, from 2013, all suitably
qualified school leavers will be entitled to an apprenticeship. Completion rates
have nearly trebled over the past five years, reaching an all-time high of 63%,
comparable with the best in Europe.
10. The skills system. The Government has already taken a number of steps to
simplify the landscape on skills for manufacturers. These include: major changes
to enhance the Apprenticeships programme announced in World Class
Apprenticeships; a commitment to rapidly expand the Train to Gain service, with
funding expected to reach over £1 billion by 2010-11; sector skills compacts
with two Sector Skills councils ProSkills and SEMTA making £127m of the Train to
Gain budget available to their manufacturers over the next three years; and a
Business Support Simplification programme to streamline business support at the
national, regional and local level from over 3,000 schemes to fewer than 100.
11. In March this year, HM Treasury and the Department for Business,
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform jointly published "Enterprise: Unlocking the
UK's Talent", a new 10 year strategy to make the UK the most enterprising
economy in the world - and the best place to start and grow a business.
12. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK
business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business
growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and
champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of
Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced
About the Author
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-09-09 16:46:42 in Business Articles