Banishing manufacturing stereotypes

Jason Ford

News Editor

Does your experience of modern manufacturing include dark, cold factories and oily rags? Thought not, and neither does EEF chief executive, Terry Scuoler.

Scuoler’s organisation wants to challenge these stereotypes and has launched the second EEF Heroes of Modern UK Manufacturing Photography Competition.

Entrants are being asked to capture the people, products, places and processes that make UK manufacturing great and to have their work submitted by October 31.

In EEF publicity material, business minister Mark Prisk said: ‘Copies of some of last year’s winning photographs are proudly displayed in my ministerial office – they’re a daily reminder of what’s great about UK manufacturing and how crucial the sector is to rebuilding and rebalancing the UK economy.’

The competition is free to enter, with three categories of professional, amateur and young people aged 14-19.

Winners, who will share £5000 of prize vouchers from Canon, will be announced at the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards in January 2012. More details can be found here:

A reminder that The Engineer’s very own technology and innovation awards – which rewards technology led collaborations – is also open for entries. Visit to find out more.

On Wednesday this week IMechE is hosting a talk entitled ‘The role of product innovation within the new manufacturing economy’ at its Birdcage Walk premises.

Delivered by Graham Lacy, technical director at PDD, the talk will consider the past 30 years, an era that saw the UK embrace a service economy and manufacturing weathering European integration, the digital revolution, globalisation, the emergence of the East and three recessions. 

Manufacturing has, of course, survived but challenges remain in terms of resources, sustainability, regulation and competition and needing to produce better products at lower prices despite higher costs.

Graham will explore how innovation – a word whose definition has evolved into different meanings – can be applied to the new manufacturing economy, assessing how it may help UK companies to be more competitive at home and overseas.

The rise of one particular Eastern economy is on the agenda this week at Greenwich University, which is hosting ‘Doing Business in India’ on Thursday.

India’s economy is said to be expanding with GDP growth at nine per cent per annum but challenges remain for world’s largest democracy to become a full knowledge economy.

Luckily, the Indian government is increasingly open to international collaboration and is said to be creating a positive environment for building partnerships between the UK and India across a wide range of sectors.

With this in mind, the organizers are encouraging business professionals and academics considering entering the Indian market or who are already active in India to attend.

Presentations, panel discussions and case studies will be presented by academics and business professionals on doing business with India. Similarly, one-to-one clinics by specialist consultants with experience of developing business with India will also be available to delegates.

Last Thursday David Willetts, minister for universities and science, invited proposals for £5m of annual funding for collaborations between the UK and India in the areas of skills development, innovation partnerships and education. The call for proposals marks the launch of Phase 2 of the UK India Research and Education Initiative (UKIERI).