Offshoring in UK Manufacturing

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Lots of Offshoring has occurred in the last 20 years in UK manufacturing. We hear about it frequently.

But there is still incredible latent talent and potential here, compared to the many other countries where I work as a manufacturing management consultant. Key for me is how many UK Tier 1 manufacturers there are here, as then the Tier 2 and Tier 3 ‘Mom and Pop’ businesses start to thrive. If you take the car industry there’s GKN, TI and ….?

So in my view it all centres on a few big blue chips JLR, JCB, Airbus and Rolls Royce supporting /partnering schools and suppliers and their apprentice programs. Despite JLR’s huge turnaround and fantastic export performance (and I worked at BL/Rover/Land Rover in the bad days) 60% of the value of the UK made cars is imported. And from what I see and hear, the iPhone generation have little interest in engineering/manufacturing. It’s compounded by the media describing orange high viz workmen repairing power lines in the wintry snow, as … ‘Engineers’.

Manufacturing is now just 10% of our GDP … in Germany it’s 20% … so there is lots of potential and a good target to shoot for there! Big difference is the German attitude to the education and training of the Technician level. They don’t concentrate on University graduates as we do here in the UK … I could go on! But after 30 years of various Governments pushing Financial services in the UK, turning around the Supertanker is a herculean task.

It has started, but who is educating the new generation of teachers in the value of a career in engineering or manufacturing?

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