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The Friday Roundup – 07/02/2020

Every Friday, we round up our top 5 most popular reads from the week, along with sharing some of our favourite finds from around the web.

In this week’s roundup, Schneider Electric is set to expand its UK facilities to meet rising renewables demand, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars launches its 2020 apprenticeship programme, and UK manufacturing PMI hits a nine-month high in January.

Our top 5 most read this week

1. Schneider Electric to invest in its UK manufacturing facilities

Schneider Electric has announced plans to expand its UK manufacturing facilities in Scarborough and Leeds – driven by rising demand in renewable and green technologies. As part of a multi-million-pound investment and upgrade, Schneider Electric intends to boost the capacity and productivity of its operations and facilitate production of new technologies for the renewables industry. It also plans to create an innovation hub at its Leeds site, showcasing sustainable energy management technologies.
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2. SME optimism rebounds with output & orders set to grow

Optimism among small and medium-sized manufacturers rebounded sharply in the three months to January, according to the latest quarterly CBI SME Trends Survey. The survey of 279 SME manufacturers reported that optimism about the general business situation in the manufacturing sector rose at the strongest pace since April 2014 in the quarter to January. The upward swing in growth from the previous quarter was the largest improvement in optimism in a single quarter in the survey’s history, since October 1988. Optimism about export prospects also rose for the first time since July 2018.
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3. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars launches 2020 apprenticeship programme

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has opened up applications for its 2020 apprenticeship programme. Now in its 14th year, the scheme is open to candidates of all ages and backgrounds. Since its launch in 2006, the principal focus of the Rolls-Royce apprenticeship programme has been to provide practical training in the specialist craft skills required to build ‘the best car in the world’. Apprentices spend two to four years at its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Goodwood, West Sussex, working alongside the company’s world-class craftspeople in assembly, woodshop, surface finish, leathershop, parts quality and total vehicle quality management. Many apprentices go on to take up full-time employment with the company, often progressing to senior supervisory, technical and management roles.
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4. Bentley maintains top employer status for 9th consecutive year

Bentley Motors has maintained its position as a top employer for 2020, marking the ninth consecutive year the firm has achieved this status. The annual international research – undertaken by the Top Employers Institute – recognises leading employers around the world that provide excellent working conditions, make every effort to continuously enhance recruitment processes and nurture and develop talent throughout all levels of the business. Following a comprehensive review of the business, the Institute highlighted Bentley’s progressive focus on future talent, continuous professional development and offering an engaging employee experience.
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5. UPS invests in Arrival and orders 10,000 electric vehicles

UPS has finalised a deal to purchase 10,000 purpose-built electric vehicles worth hundreds of millions of pounds from UK electric vehicle start-up Arrival. The initial 10,000 vehicles will be rolled out in the UK, Europe and North America throughout 2020 – 2024. UPS Ventures, its venture capital arm, has also announced an investment in Arrival of an undisclosed amount. Arrival has been working with UPS for several years, having first announced a partnership in 2016. This latest vehicle order and investment will accelerate deployment of fit for purpose electric fleets at scale. Arrival’s unique generation 2.0 electric vehicles offer UPS compelling commercial and environmental benefits to make a seamless and cost-effective transition to a zero-emissions fleet.
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Our favourite #GBmfg & #UKmfg tweets of the week

Recommendation roundup

Our picks of the business and manufacturing related content that caught our attention this week.

1. The changing industrial landscape of Britain / via @BBCNews

John Davies is an influential British landscape photographer who has been photographing Britain’s industrial heritage since the early 1980s. Though originally photographing the rural landscape, in 1981 he started documenting industrial landscapes at a time when British traditional heavy industries were in decline. He set out to document industrial sites such as cotton mills before they were demolished. Over time, his work has come to reveal how urban infrastructure in Britain has changed.
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2. UK PMI: Manufacturing sector hits nine-month high / via @CityAM

The UK manufacturing sector had its best performance in nine months in January, halting a long-running decline that began in May of last year, survey data has shown. The IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 50 in January as new orders and business confidence recovered. The score was well above December’s reading of 47.5 and higher than an initial estimate of 49.8. A score of 50 indicates no change in the sector. But the PMI last posted a reading above this neutral level in April 2019, meaning UK manufacturing had been in contraction mode for eight months.
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3. How Dr Who is inspiring young people to take up STEM subjects / via @heraldscotland

Doctor Who may be drafted in to help pupils embrace STEM subjects as part of an innovative new project in Scotland. Part of the new STEM Futures project will focus on igniting young people’s interest by helping them to recognise how science and mathematics crop up in everyday life, such as in television programmes like Doctor Who and His Dark Materials. It has been launched against a backdrop of mounting concern over the numbers of young people opting in to science and technology-related subjects, falling standards and a nationwide skills gap, which has left employers in rapidly-expanding sectors struggling to fill jobs.
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And finally, some bonus picks to add to your reading list this weekend:

1. Buses: Government unveils £50m plan to create first all-electric bus town / via @BBCNews

The government has pledged £50m to create an entirely electric bus network in an English town. Local authorities can bid for money to help pay for a new fleet of electric buses, and the winning town would be used as a model by government as it aims to ensure all buses are fully electric by 2025. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said buses had “a crucial role to play in bringing down emissions”.
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2. The Orkney Islands: The energy revolution starts here / via @sciencefocus

The 70 or so islands of Orkney may be isolated, sitting off the northernmost tip of the Scottish mainland, but they’re at the heart of an energy revolution. The seaport town of Stromness draws visitors from Silicon Valley, Chile, Taiwan and everywhere in between, seeking to find out how Orkney is able to produce so much renewable energy – more than it can actually use. What can the rest of the world learn from their success?
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