Focus on manufacturing

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Anyone still working on their entry into the Make it in Great Britain Challenge should be aware that the deadline for entries is 5 April.

The challenge – open to inventors, manufacturers, engineers, designers, businesses, young people and the general public – is part of the Make it in Great Britain campaign, which wants to change the image of modern manufacturing.

Organisers say the judges are looking for entries across five categories that represent the breadth and depth of the manufacturing industry, and highlight the innovation and talent in Britain today.

Winning entries from each category will showcase their creations on a weekly basis at the Make it in Great Britain exhibition at London’s Science Museum. Click here to learn more.

Efforts to change the perception of manufacturing couldn’t be more pertinent, given the findings of a recent report that said only one in five people in the UK would encourage their children to take up a manufacturing job.

The report, from YouGov-Cambridge and Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing, is claimed to be the first critical investigation into how the public view British manufacturing.

Poor pay and job insecurity appear to be widely held but mistaken perceptions of Britain’s manufacturing sector.

Of the 1,452 adults surveyed, 29 per cent said that the government understands how to strengthen manufacturing, 48 per cent expressed confidence in business leaders’ ability, and 66 per cent said the Coalition is not doing enough to support manufacturing growth.

The study recommends that the government needs to address these problems and deeper issues about public confidence if it is to strengthen the sector and encourage more young people into manufacturing.

Businesses operating in the high technology, high quality, export led manufacturing supply chains are encouraged to visit Sheffield this week for the second Global Manufacturing Festival.

On Wednesday the festival will host a Get Up To Speed – Skills and Education Show, which will be open to young people, schools, parents and students interested in meeting local engineering and manufacturing businesses.

An international convention and trade show will take place at the City Hall on Thursday with UK strategy and support, new markets and opportunities, and technology and commercialisation up for discussion.

Sir Roger Bone, president of Boeing UK, will officially launch the event with a management lecture organised by Sheffield University.

Loughborough’s Henry Ford College hosts SERT@GVC on Wednesday and Thursday this week, an event designed to explore the themes contributing to efficient transport.

These include vehicle lightweighting, energy efficient powertrains and intelligent mobility ‘as a catalyst to enable efficient vehicle movements in a congested transport network’.

Organisers UK Trade and Investment say this year’s event, incorporating Cenex’s Green Vehicle Congress (GVC), will deliver a single unified event for UK and international technology developer communities and is dedicated to exploring the innovation opportunities associated with energy efficient transport.

This October marks the start of the Green Deal, £24bn scheme designed to improve the energy efficiency of properties, businesses and communities.

In practise, consumers will be able to make energy efficiency improvements with no upfront cost. Instead, monies will be recouped through a charge in instalments on their energy bills.

Ahead of this is a public sector event taking place in Central Hall, Westminster on Thursday entitled Delivering the Green Deal: Building Partnerships, Tackling Fuel Poverty.

The organizers, Public Service Events, believe a number of issues have arisen out of this laudable scheme. For example, given the huge scope of the programme, they ask if there is there an installation skills gap that needs to be addressed as a priority?

They say also that risk and cost issues have not been addressed in detail and there remains a lack of definition in local government and supplier responsibility.

By attending the event, delegates will be able to address these concerns and learn about green finance models, innovations such as smart meters and microgeneration, and changes to planning laws that can open up energy efficiency savings and help to tackle fuel-poverty.

Still with buildings and a quick note about ecobuild, which kicks off at London’s Excel Centre tomorrow. Billed as the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment, attendees will be able to visit over 1,300 suppliers, learn about energy generation and energy savings, and attend over 130 sessions in the conferences and seminars strand.

Finally, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will deliver his Budget speech this Wednesday. Be sure to visit The Engineer on Wednesday afternoon for post-Budget reaction from senior figures in the engineering community.