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National Manufacturing Conference – adapting to Net Zero and a changing world
Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, will hold this year’s National Manufacturing Conference in London on Tuesday 3rd May 2022. The flagship annual event will once again bring together leading politicians, senior industrialists and manufacturing innovators against a challenging economic landscape.
With global supply chains still under pressure and energy prices at record highs, this year’s conference will look at how companies can best adapt to Net Zero and a changing world.
A number of high-profile speakers are being lined up, including Jonathan Reynolds, MP and Shadow Secretary of State of Business and Industrial Strategy, journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil and by popular demand the conference will be chaired once again by broadcaster Steph McGovern, herself a former engineer. William, Baron Hague of Richmond, has been confirmed as the conference’s keynote speaker. As a former Foreign Secretary, he is ideally qualified to talk about the challenging international situation in which companies have to operate and how the global outlook may develop in the near to medium term. He will also outline his thoughts on how the domestic political situation may play out in the run up to the next election.
Again, it will run a series of workshops throughout the conference day to help minimise potential risk going forward and show companies how to take advantage of the opportunities arising in the ever-changing market.
Key themes for this year’s discussions include “Net Zero and Manufacturing – what can we do to achieve the goal”, looking also at the benefits for businesses of embracing a low carbon strategy.
Workshop number two looks at “Building resilient workforces and leading successful businesses”, examining how manufacturers can address the current and future skills gaps in their companies, and how to recruit and retain the talent that they need to unlock growth. The third workshop drills down into international supply chains, “Volatility vs Efficiency – Managing global supply chains”. The last years of pandemic have highlighted strengths and weaknesses in supply of raw materials and inputs. This workshop looks at building resilience and best practice in resetting international trade.
“Social Values in Defence: A Green, Diverse and Local Future”, presented by Make Defence, looks at how to create a more sustainable, diverse, equal and ultimately more competitive business. This workshop will sit against the background of the Social Values Public Procurement Notice introduced in 2020 which fundamentally changed all defence procurement processes.
UK Steel will run an in-depth session, “A Material World”, bringing together a range of thought leaders from industry and academia to examine global challenges from climate change to resource scarcity within the steel sector and the fragile global chains which will fundamentally change the way we use materials in the future.
The day will conclude with a celebratory manufacturing dinner at the QEII Centre which will be compared by business journalist Declan Curry, with after-dinner speaker Ed Balls, broadcaster and economist who served as Secretary of State for Children Schools and Families from 2007-2010 and as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2011 to 2015.
Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “Our conference comes at a critical time for industry, with the ongoing uncertainty over energy prices and other global supply chain pressures. This conference provides an important collaborative platform for industry and Government to work together – and it is that which during the last two years of crisis has helped assure the future success of manufacturing to ensure we protect the 2.7 million jobs our sector provides across the UK.
“Going forward, it is essential that we look to build resilience across the sector to protect our supply chains and at the same time looking to grasp new trade opportunities as we continue to build free trade agreements with the rest of the world.”