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A leading industry body has warned that manufacturing’s image as a credible career choice remains poorly perceived based on a recent study.
Made in the Midlands canvassed their membership of manufacturing and engineering decision makers to develop a Futures Report to assess and forecast industry trends in the next 3 - 5 years.
Asked how they thought the image of manufacturing as a career choice is seen by the wider UK public, it is concerning that 41% still believed it was viewed as having a low professional status. No-one surveyed thought that it was seen as having a high professional status.
Made in the Midlands new non-executive Chairman David Wright said: “We know that 2013 was actually very good year for manufacturing, reports and intelligence substantiates that and those messages have permeated across our industrial community.
“Outside of that, with skills and succession planning still very much an issue on the ground, many of our members believe that manufacturing is still perceived poorly as a career choice and that has huge repercussions for future sustainable growth.”
One respondent remarked: “Brighter English kids don’t want to go into manufacturing. In Germany engineering apprentices are seen as successful, but here you are not seen as doing well.”
Wright continued: “Clearly, the last thing we want is to perpetuate negativity, there’s been too much of that over the past couple of decades, but we must take the concerns of our members seriously. We have every opportunity to innovate, compete globally and create wealth but we need the people and the skills in place to enable us to move forward.”
“Schools, parents, the government, the media and manufacturers themselves can all play an even greater part. Our focus this year will be on advocating a career in manufacturing and engineering by showing that it is an exciting, challenging and rewarding environment.”
In an industry first, Made in the Midlands will be opening their annual expo on May 22nd exclusively to schools and colleges after it has closed to delegates at 3pm. From that time onwards teachers and pupils will have access to the Midlands manufacturing community to find out more about industry and the careers within it.
Alongside skills, training and people the report, developed in association with Brierley Hill based law firm Higgs & Sons, also measures attitudes towards government policy, technology trends, global influences and the state of the UK manufacturing market.
Spokesperson Nick Taylor, Head of Corporate at Higgs added: “The UK and the Midlands in particular needs to work together to improve and increase the profile of engineering and manufacturing to young talent. A greater value needs to be placed on finding new and innovative solutions to industry-related problems if we are to keep the Midlands as a premier destination for investment in engineering and manufacturing from across the world”.