Career opportunities in the manufacturing sector will be promoted through a new government body, it has emerged.
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) yesterday announced a new strategy to improve the public image of manufacturing and help attract young people to the sector. Part of the £150m plan is to develop a new association called Manufacturing Insight to ensure school leavers are aware of the “exciting” jobs available in the sector.
Business Secretary John Hutton said: “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.”
Earlier this week HR directors in the manufacturing sector told Personnel Today they welcomed the government shake-up to boost the sector’s reputation, at a time when job losses and factory closures were dominating the headlines. HR chiefs from can-making machinery firm Carnaudmetalbox Engineering, wood-care products firm Ronseal and aerospace engineering company BAE Systems all agreed the industry suffered from an image problem and as such failed to attract new recruits.
The CBI’s chief economic adviser, Ian McCafferty, believed the government’s new proposals contained “fresh thinking”. He said: “To achieve success, the government will also need to put in place a coherent procurement strategy that enables industry to invest with confidence for the long-term.”
The government strategy, New Challenges, New Opportunities, developed in partnership with industry bodies, also recognised that manufacturing was entering “demanding times” but it said the government was committed to supporting employers get through them.
Other proposals discussed in the paper include:
- How to prepare for the commercial opportunities available in investing in low carbon products, tools and parts.
- A new focus 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 more than10%.
- A simplification of the ways manufacturers can access support on skills and training.
- Allocating resources to help some 600 UK companies of all sizes to identify manufacturing value chain opportunities in India and China.
- Introducing a new Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, which will have industrial scale pre-production and demonstration facilities, which could lead to £130m of investment in business-led applied research and its exploitation over the next 10 years.