An industry task force is to meet at Regional Technology Centre (RTC) North in Sunderland next week to shape the future of manufacturing support in the region.
The aim will be to bring together leading figures from industry to discuss ways to overcome the challenges posed by rising costs, competition from low wage economies and skills shortages. All were cited as major challenges for north east companies by delegates at the Modernising Manufacturing launch event held at Nissan in September.
The task force will meet again in January and report its findings to policy makers and government ministers. Recommendations put forward will be used to shape regional development agency One NorthEast’s Regional Economic Strategy and ensure manufacturing remains at the heart of a vibrant north east economy.
The exercise has been organised by independent technology transfer company RTC North, which manages the region’s Manufacturing Advisory Service, MAS North East, on behalf of One NorthEast and the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
RTC North managing director Gordon Ollivere MBE said: ‘The north east has an excellent tradition of excellence in manufacturing, which still accounts for 25 per cent of the regional economy. This event is about responding to global competition and keeping our companies ahead of the competition.’
John Cushnighan CBE, industry forum board member and former managing director of Nissan Motor UK (NMUK), said: ‘We neglect manufacturing at our peril. Preserving our capability despite being a high cost country is the key to success. As a region we can do this by anticipating future markets and moving up the value chain.’