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East Midlands Chamber News

Conference to consider future of UK manufacturing

The future for manufacturing and engineering in the East Midlands will be the main theme of a major regional conference next month.

Last year saw significant changes in the UK’s political and economic landscape and 2018 shows little sign of respite, with the day of the conference, for example, marking one year and one day before the UK’s exit from the EU.

As the country looks to develop a vision for post-Brexit success, the Government recently launched its long-awaited Industrial Strategy White Paper which identifies five areas for growth – ideas, infrastructure, people, business environment and place - and includes the addition of four ‘grand challenges’ around artificial intelligence, data, clean technology, supporting an ageing society and the future of mobility.

The manufacturing and engineering sector also continues to suffer the perennial issue of access to skilled labour, frequently cited as a major Brexit concern in the East Midlands Chamber’s* Quarterly Economic Surveys.

Data for Q4 2017, the latest available as fieldwork has only just started for Q1 2018, showed 63% of respondents from the manufacturing sector had tried to recruit in the previous three months but 58% of them had experienced problems finding suitable staff, particularly in skilled manual/technical and professional/managerial roles.

The Conference, staged by the Chamber, will bring together leaders from across the sector and, through a series of keynote addresses and expert panel discussions, examine these challenges and more, exploring where opportunities might present themselves and how business and support organisations can best work together to ensure the East Midlands continues to be a sector lead in the UK and beyond.

Speakers confirmed for the conference include Professor Juergen Maier, UK Chief Executive, Siemens UK, on why the UK must lead the fourth industrial revolution, Svetan Ratchev, Professor of Production Engineering and Director of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, on manufacturing in a digital age – the challenges and opportunities, Mark Titterington, CEO, Engineering UK, on The State of Engineering Report: 2018, Neil Tatman, Associate Fellow Manufacturing Systems, Rolls-Royce, on The journey to the next generation of ‘smart factories’, and Naomi Clayton, Policy and Research Manager, Centre for Cities, on the impact of increasing automation.

The conference, hosted by the University of Nottingham at its brand new Advanced Manufacturing Building, on the Jubilee Campus.

Ian Bates, Sector Forums Manager at the Chamber, said: “There are significant challenges ahead for the manufacturing and engineering sector, from advancements in technology to simply being able to recruit the right people for the jobs, and only by staying one step ahead of the game can companies expect to maximise the opportunities that will, undoubtedly, emerge.

“This conference should give delegates an insight into what various experts expect to happen in the foreseeable future, which will hopefully steer Chamber policy and give us a glimpse of where we should be heading as we look ahead to a future outside the EU.”

For further details and to reserve a place at the conference on 28 March, visit http://bit.ly/2HuCWUT.