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Rosy outlook for manufacturing

By Christopher Greenough

I have worked for over 20 years in Shrewsbury, as part of a second tier manufacturing site. Family owned, and forward looking, we have invested in the site and looked to support the region. 

From my many years within the sector, I have seen the highs and lows of manufacturing. Having spent time over the last few years promoting manufacturing in the Midlands, and being involved with many groups to highlight opportunities that are currently available, I have begun to focus on Shropshire and what we can do to put our region firmly on the agenda of OEMs and other large businesses. 

Shropshire is not just a fantastic place to live, it is has vibrant and fast growing manufacturing sector. There are fantastic opportunities for growth, and also good investment chances that have the backing of local MPs, councils and LEPs, all of whom are looking to build on the manufacturing revival in the UK. 

It would be easy for me to turn this column into a Brexit-themed article, but what I have chosen to focus on is the enthusiasm that there currently is in UK manufacturing, and how we can use this to further improve the sector in Shropshire. 

We have world-class businesses producing parts that are used all over the UK, and also exported all around the world. But, what we also have in Shropshire is a need and enthusiasm to connect with those further afield, because we are away from the business centres of London and Birmingham we have to work harder to promote what we have and do. 

This means we are used to putting in extra effort to make our voices heard, and this extra effort makes us more likely to take opportunities when they present themselves. 

I would like to say to this new Government, and the MPs in Westminster, that there is a region that has great potential, and has business professionals who will put in the extra effort to make manufacturing work. 

We are, as a region, investing in skills, processes and the sustainment of manufacturing.

From recent surveys all around the UK, but certainly focused on Shropshire, the skills shortage is the biggest problem stopping business moving forward and continuing to grow. 

So, through the local LEP there is a step to invest in skills and make sure we can sustain our sector in years to come. Local manufacturers are involved, and this will make us country leader in training provision. 

The outlook is positive, there are opportunities, and through continued support of manufacturing we can help further push the economy of Shropshire. 

We can continue to create jobs and make sure the young people learning in our schools, colleges and universities have the opportunity to stay and work in the region, and continue to enjoy our fantastic county. 


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