Lots of middle-aged men wearing overalls in dirty factories welding bits of metal together and talking about last night’s football?

user with robot arm with a graphic overlay of control panels An old-fashioned, irrelevant industrial sector which you’d never dream of allowing your children to pursue as a career choice for the future?

If an extensive new survey of the UK manufacturing sector is anything to go by, that’s probably the case.

Worryingly, the UK Annual Manufacturing Report – an annual overview of the state of the British manufacturing sector – found that a country which once led the world in making things has now fallen out of love with getting its hands at least metaphorically dirty.

The survey found that among manufacturers:

  • 57% say the education system is a disaster for industry and needs a total overhaul
  • 66% say the British people do not understand the importance of manufacturing to the economy
  • 55% say the government could do more to promote exports

It’s depressing stuff.

Particularly when you look at just how big a role manufacturing still plays in the life – and prosperity – of this nation.

The UK remains the eighth-largest manufacturer in the world by output and the sector employs 2.6 million people, accounts for 44 per cent of our exports and 70 per cent of the country’s research and development spending.

Around £13 of every £100 invested in UK businesses goes into manufacturing – and the sector still pays significantly higher than the average.

In our role as PR and communications specialists, we work with some world-class manufacturers whose work today will change the way all of us live our lives tomorrow.

These are not worn-out old men bashing metal in grotty workshops underneath railway arches in rundown and forgotten towns.
They are highly-skilled innovators leading the great digital transformation which will bring a world of simply unimaginable opportunity should we have the foresight to support them.

So next time you think about manufacturing, think again.

Because it’s time to start showing our support as a nation for the people who make the things which still make this country great.

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