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The misconception of manufacturing is still rife across the UK and everyone connected to the sector either running businesses or providing services to the sector, have a duty to play a small part in busting the myths

By Claire Lauder
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The misconception of manufacturing is still rife across the UK and everyone connected to the sector either running businesses or providing services to the sector, have a duty to play a small part in busting the myths. Why? Because the sector offers some of the most interesting careers for young people, yet it is suffering crippling skills shortages which are only set to increase. Of 2000 UK parents surveyed, "despite placing a high value on the role of manufacturing only a fifth (19%) of parents of children aged 18 and under would encourage their children to work in the sector."

We constantly hear about the skills shortages and the disconnect between government and industry, but I still believe there is more that individual businesses can do to help redress the balance. Over the course of 2018, I have witnessed some amazing businesses that have incredible people strategies, organisations that have invested so much in to their company brand and the development of their own people, whether that be through apprenticeships or the environment they are creating to develop and nurture their existing talent.

Nikki Barrington from Barclays shared their recent thought leadership paper with me and I am pleased it is focusing on changing the perception of the sector amongst young people.

Nikki says; “As you already know, manufacturing is a significant sector of UK Industry, accounting for 10% of GVA and 45% of UK Exports. However, the growth and productivity of the sector is hampered by Manufacturers citing constant skills challenges in recruitment. This has prompted us to lead a research paper setting out to identify solutions by looking at the problem from both perspectives: employers and potential future recruits. The study included over 500 UK manufacturing businesses, and opinions of 2,000 people, aged between 16 – 23 (Gen Z).” 

You can read the full report here, but outlined below are the key findings:

The Skills Challenge

A Sector Overlooked

The report is an interesting read and hopefully, collectively we can begin to change the perception of #ukmfg, and convey to people outside of the sector that the careers offered are not only interesting and fulfilling, but according to the EEF 2018 Fact Card they are also often better paid.

I would like to mention the businesses that really stood out to me over the course of 2018. They stood out because they came across as businesses that not only valued their people but were prepared to take responsibility for the investment and training of young people coming in to the sector. If you have daughters/sons/nieces/nephews who live near any of these businesses, then I would consider them lucky if they could get a job in any of these companies.

Lander AutomotiveLintott Control SystemsDura AutomotiveProdumaxGripple, Tharsus & Millers Oils.

I am always keen to speak to business leaders and HR Directors of businesses within the manufacturing and engineering sectors, please do not hesitate to get in touch directly.


This blog post was also published on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/misconception-manufacturing-claire-lauder/

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