Successive governments have failed to highlight the major contribution which the metals sector makes to the UK economy; in terms of employment, innovation or even turnover.
There is always much talk about the UK’s industrial heritage, but too often the focus is on the past, rather than the present, let alone the future of the metal industry.
Equally, our industry needs to do much more to raise its own profile, at national, regional and local level, to better promote its skills and expertise, and to make everyone aware of the tremendous career opportunities it offers.
However, the first step has been taken to give the metals industry the respect and recognition it deserves – and also a sustainable and profitable future – with the publication of Vision 2030: The UK Metal Industry’s New Strategic Approach.
Months of research and debate went into the creation of this long-term analysis, and the CBM was heavily involved in that process, which was co-ordinated and driven by the UK Metals Forum and the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).
The report looks to make politicians, business leaders, the corporate community and the UK’s other strategic industrial sectors realise just how much our metals industry adds to the economy of today – and how much it could contribute to our economy of the future.
Among the aims of Vision 2030 was to create a framework which could deliver greater cross-sector collaboration, everhigher levels of innovation, employment growth and a dramatic increase in the metals sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) contribution to the UK economy.
Jon Bolton, who chaired the Metals Strategy Steering Group, believes the Metals Council will also increasingly be able to work with government, to ensure the regulatory environment is fairly balanced so UK companies are not handicapped when competing with overseas competitors.
He also identified three core themes which emerged from the consultative process that spawned Vision 2030, which must be addressed by the metals industry:
“Taken together, action under these themes should revitalise our metals industry,” says Jon. “Bringing the industry together with a single voice, and working in partnership with government and other key industrial sectors, holds out the potential that its contribution can not only be maintained, but grown substantially.”
Anna Soubry, the Minister for Small Business, Industry & Enterprise, welcomed Vision 2030, as a platform for government to work with the metals industry on issues which might hold back its growth.