Yorkshire's manufacturing sector to take centre stage at Great Northern Conference

YORKSHIRE’s manufacturing sector can play a pivotal role  in reducing the North-South economic divide, according to a leading industry figure.

Britain's manufacturing sector provides the essentials for modern life, according to Steve Foxley

Steve Foxley, the chief executive of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), will be among the participants at The Great Northern Conference, which will act as a sounding board for the North of England as it prepares for the post-Brexit world.

The Great Northern Conference will include speeches from leading politicians and informed debate about topics ranging from education to transport. The online event is due to be held on October 22, 2020. The AMRC is sponsoring a debate about the future of engineering and manufacturing .

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Mr Foxley said: “Looking back to the early months of this year, when the first reports began to emerge of a new virus, it was impossible to know just quite how devastating its impact would be on human health, society and the damage it would inflict on global economies.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created a chaotic landscape, but beyond the urgent short-term challenges much remains the same.

"We cannot afford to lose sight of the long-term issues and problems that must be tackled: climate change, the productivity slump, levelling-up between the North and South and the consequences we face as we leave the European Union. Uncertainty may loom about what the coming months will bring.

“But there will be opportunities too; opportunities that support our green recovery. It is vital we are courageous and have clarity in our purpose. We must look to the future and for ways to make things better.”

Mr Foxley added: “As this pandemic has shown, manufacturing and engineering are not just sectors of the UK economy – they are its essentials. Essential to healthcare; essential to clean energy; to transport and travel; essential to the food we eat and the air we breathe.

“They have a leading role to play in solving the grand challenges facing our society, and in the levelling-up and rebalancing of our economy.

“The North is the engine room for advanced manufacturing and crucial to our recovery. But it is only with industry-led innovation, driven by applied R&D investment, that the North’s full potential can be unlocked. This requires great collaboration, something we have in spades in the North.

“And we know it can be done. Chapter One of the AMRC story saw Orgreave transformed from a scene of industrial decline into one of industrial regeneration and collaboration.

“Chapter Two is no less ambitious, taking this remarkable legacy and using it as a platform to transform UK manufacturing towards a smart, sustainable and resilient future; harnessing our R&D talents to not only make things better for the region and our partners but to transform the North into the beating heart of innovation and the new industrial revolution.

“The Great Northern Conference is our opportunity to unite the region’s political, academic and business leaders and send out a strong collective message that the North must play a centre-stage role in the levelling-up agenda.”

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership and JPIMedia are joining forces again to continue the debate on how best to grow the economy and develop opportunities in a sustainable and meaningful way across the North of England.

The speakers at the event will include Ruth Nic Aoidh, the executive director – purchasing, SQA, commercial, legal and government affairs at McLaren. She plays a key role in strategic and commercial affairs across McLaren Automotive.

For more information visit: www.greatnorthernpowerhouse.co.uk/