Prior to joining EEF, my immediate thought when someone mentioned ‘manufacturing’ was cars. But in my 7 weeks here I’ve learnt manufacturing is so much than this! From parts for an ejector seat on a jet to sofas for Next and John Lewis, the UK manufacturing sector manufacturers and delivers a wide array of products. It’s no wonder it accounts for 45% of all UK exports.
India, China, US, Mexico, Slovenia, Germany. Speaking to manufacturers, these are just a few of the countries that UK manufacturers export to or import from. UK manufacturing has connections to other countries all across the world and in 2016/17 was the 9th largest manufacturer in the world. It is a truly global sector.
Whether it was the Financial Crash in 2009 or Brexit, the UK manufacturing sector has remained resilient. The sector epitomises a can do attitude, and in the face of those challenges continues to grow.
Manufacturers are concerned about the skills gap. Whether it’s recruiting engineering graduates or apprentices, manufacturers are finding it hard to attract the right candidates. Collectively we must start engaging with pupils at a younger age to attract them into the sector.
Much has been said about women only accounting for 9% of the engineering workforce. Whilst there is still lots to do to encourage more women into the profession, there are many success stories too. If we want more women in our industry, we should share these success stories and engage with girls from a younger age.
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