BUSINESS leaders have called for Government intervention to stimulate investment in manufacturing to help level the economy.
Industry leaders from some of the region’s biggest organisations, including Ebac, Ford Aerospace, Tees Valley Unlimited and NECC, gathered at a manufacturing roundtable hosted by Tait Walker Chartered Accountants, to air their concerns on current issues facing the sector.
Bank funding, grants and the Heseltine Report figured highly in views, but closing the skills gap was high on the agenda.
Businesses called for the education system to be overhauled to make careers within the manufacturing and engineering sectors more attractive.
Pamela Petty, managing director of Newton Acliffe-based Ebac Group said: “Manufacturing is the only way we can turn our economy around, but in order to do this we need Government intervention, to help level the global economy and invest in British manufacturing.
“We’ve taught children they can by-pass all of that if they go to university, get a degree and get a sexy job, but that’s simply not the reality. We’re faced with an ageing workforce and the need to replace that workforce urgently.
“We need to show kids what a factory is actually like and dispel the stigma attached.”
Geoff Ford, of Ford Aerospace, recently given a special award at the North East Exporters Awards for their contribution to exports, added: “Manufacturing should not be seen as a dead-end occupation.
“It pays well, it requires a great deal of skill and it’s a job for life.
“In China and India a job in manufacturing is seen as the key to a better life. More must be done to position manufacturing as a preferred career option.”
John Leer, head of Business Investment at Tees Valley Unlimited said: “Manufacturing is at the very heart of the Tees Valley economy, so we are delighted to take part in valuable stakeholder events.
“Fundamental to delivering our strategies and developing future proposals with Government is understanding the needs of local businesses.”
Tait Walker partner David Arthur added: “The manufacturing sector is so important to Tait Walker because we understand its importance to our region. It is a thriving sector, which we are privileged to be able to play some part in.
“It’s clear there is still much to be done in terms of getting manufacturing to be a key driver of the North East economy, but we are confident the drive and passion that the region is renowned for will help it find its voice, putting it firmly on the map as a force to be reckoned with both nationally and globally.”
Issues discussed will be put forward in a report to government and other key decision makers.
The manufacturing sector is so important to Tait Walker because we understand its importance to our region