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National Manufacturing Summit 2024: Addressing Workforce Challenges in the UK’s Advanced Manufacturing Sector

by Anna

Last week, on March 14th, leading experts from the UK’s manufacturing industry converged at the National Manufacturing Summit 2024 in Coventry to deliberate on the future of the workforce. The summit, centered around the pressing issue of ongoing labor shortages, saw representatives from various sectors of the advanced manufacturing industry come together to outline key strategies for upskilling the existing workforce.

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Among the distinguished panellists and speakers were representatives from prominent organizations including the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Lloyds Bank, Dell Technologies, Drone Major, Data Shack, Epicor, and Schneider Electric. The event witnessed participation from over 400 stakeholders and manufacturing experts in person, with an additional 6,000 attendees joining online throughout the day.

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Key discussions at the summit revolved around the role of automation in augmenting the workforce of the future. Emphasis was placed on the importance of equipping employees with the necessary skills to seamlessly integrate future technologies into manufacturing processes, thereby ensuring a smooth transition for the industry.

In a bid to engage the next generation of engineers, schools from Coventry and Warwickshire were actively involved in the conversation. Forty-five students aged between 14 and 17 were welcomed to the event and were treated to a tour of the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC), offering them invaluable insights into the industry’s operations.

Additionally, all attendees, including the students, were given the opportunity to meet ‘Rocketman’ Richard Browning, the visionary founder of Gravity Industries. They were able to witness firsthand the groundbreaking technology developed by his company, as well as explore the latest advancements in drone technologies.

Dr. Graham Hoare, CEO of MTC, addressed the gathering during the event, highlighting the pivotal role of advanced technologies such as Additive Manufacturing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in revolutionizing the manufacturing sector. Dr. Hoare stressed the urgent need for workforce development to match the pace of technological advancement.

He remarked, “For manufacturers to truly capitalize on the opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving landscape, it is imperative that the workforce is equipped with the requisite skills. This necessitates not only the training of a new generation of workers but also the upskilling and reskilling of the existing workforce.”

Dr. Hoare emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts between industry leaders, academia, and training providers to formulate a comprehensive strategy to address the evolving needs of the manufacturing workforce.

The National Manufacturing Summit, an annual congress initiated in 2021, serves as a platform for UK manufacturers to exchange best practices, knowledge, and strategic insights, furthering the advancement of the industry.

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