Top conference drives manufacturing forward

Pictured is former Government minister Richard Caborn, right, and other business experts at the Shorts, Nat West and Banner Jones Manufacturing, Engineering and Innovation event.

Pictured is former Government minister Richard Caborn, right, and other business experts at the Shorts, Nat West and Banner Jones Manufacturing, Engineering and Innovation event.

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BUSINESS and industry chiefs have met to outline manufacturing and engineering progress and opportunities to help small to medium sized business in the region move forward.

Chesterfield’s Shorts accountants, Nat West bank and Banner Jones solicitors hosted the packed manufacturing, engineering and innovation breakfast conference at Chesterfield FC’ Proact stadium today, October 18.

Speakers, including former Government minister Richard Caborn, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s David Grey and patent expert martin Terry of Swindell and Pearson, armed business leaders with vital information on taking advantage of financial support and advice, expanding manufacturing and benefiting from training and developing youngsters’ skills.

Mr Caborn told how the Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is developing industry and supporting training for the region including Derbyshire businesses.

He said: “I’m passionate about manufacturing. This is a unique place developing and making engineering parts faster with reduced weight and costs and with precision robot engineering.

“This place will be the top quality training centre in Europe. We can take a kid without a degree and put him in our system and he can come out with a doctorate in engineering.

“Doubling the Gross Domestic Product will not happen without investing in skills and giving opportunities to kids to experience what engineering does and what a massive contribution it makes.”

The LEP is also helping to provide a wider economic footprint which was originally based around local authorities and counties but now has wider boundaries including Derbyshire and is offering Enterprise Zone status for areas like Markham Vale enterprise park. It is also encouraging firms to export with trade insurance and to pick up ideas by visiting exhibitions.

David Grey Sheffield LEP board member told the conference: “The LEP aims to make a great contribution to the economy and is putting Enterprise Zones in place in areas to provide business with rate relief and to enhance capital allowances.”

The LEP also aims to help create thousands of jobs and move financial support towards small to medium sized businesses because there are about 44,000 SMEs in this region.

He told the conference: “If you have companies with opportunities that would benefit from funding that would drive business then get in touch.”

Patent expert Martin Terry outlined the importance of patents and copyrights to protect good ideas from exploitation and to force competitors into less lucrative markets.

Host Steve Smith, of Nat West, said: “Manufacturing amounts to nine per cent of the gross national product. If that’s not a reason for the country to rediscover our appetite for manufacturing I don’t know what is.”