According to a customer consultation by engineering company Siemens, the government should be prioritising education, investment and innovation in UK manufacturing to solve the productivity puzzle.
The Blueprint for the Future of UK Manufacturing consultation highlighted that there is a dearth of investment in skills training and that more must be done to improve the economic infrastructure, as well as encouraging innovation within the sector.
Around three quarters of the organisations taking part in the consultation stated that training and educating the next generation of UK manufacturing workers was the single most important factor in improving the productivity of the sector across the country.
The consultation also pointed out that 93% of manufacturers were already investing heavily in automation and new control systems to enhance their productivity in the face of cheap imports from China and other Asian nations.
Additionally, 86% of those surveyed said more focus on teaching key science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills from as early as primary school age was crucial to educating the next generation of employees and improving manufacturing productivity in the future.
Brian Holliday, a managing director for Siemens UK & Ireland:
Three key areas came to the fore — education, investment and innovation — which align closely with three of the pillars of the UK’s Productivity Plan. Together, these form a persuasive, insightful and sustainable Blueprint for the Future of UK Manufacturing, and an achievable template for success.
UK manufacturing is a critical sector, delivering 11% of national GDP and employing 2.6 million people; it is crucial that its future success is protected.
Recent reports from the EEF have shown that manufacturing is key to solving the UK’s productivity puzzle, so now is the time for action to build upon the good work already underway, and lay a strong foundation from which our innovative manufacturing sector can compete on a global stage once again.
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