City looks for world acclaim

A BID to make the Sheffield region the focus for a global celebration of manufacturing heads to London today.

Plans to stage a Global Manufacturing Festival during March have already won support from top companies and public sector organisations across the region.

Now, the initiative will be unveiled to an audience including financial institutions, business advisers, government ministers and politicians at the Engineering Employers Federation's headquarters in Westminster.

"We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support we have received locally," says Emma Tiernan from Square 5, the business development specialists who are organising the event in collaboration with city development company Creative Sheffield and Business & Education South Yorkshire.

"The launch in London is designed to take the event to a national audience."

Creativesheffield strategic marketing director Brendan Moffett says the Festival will build on the success of last year's MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival and the Sheffield brand launch. It also fitted perfectly with the Government's hopes for a manufacturing led recovery.

Both deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk are attending the London launch, with Mr Prisk due to deliver a speech on the significance of manufacturing and the importance of inspiring the next generation of engineers.

Other leading figures due to speak included EEF chairman and former Sheffield steel chief Martin Temple, Master Cutler Bill Speirs, Chris Squires, procurement chief for EDF Energy's nuclear power station construction programme in the UK, Kevin Parkin, managing director of Sheffield-based heavy engineers DavyMarkham and Simon Johnston, senior partner at law firm Nabarro.

Also due to speak about their experiences as young engineers are apprentices Luke Shaw from Firth Rixson and Sean Whelan from Forgemasters, while Firth Rixson learning and development manager Alison Bettac was due to join other speakers in a panel discussion about the Festival.

Organisers say the Global Manufacturing Festival is intended to reaffirm the UK's position as a global leader in advanced engineering and manufacturing innovation and will comprise of a series of focused events, exhibitions, conferences and workshops, with an audience and speakers from the global world of manufacturing, engineering, politics and education.

Plans are already being made for a centre piece Manufacturing Convention, billed as a world first, along with special events for member of trade delegations from China, Japan and the USA, who are visiting the UK at the same time as the Festival. Organisers are also planning factory visits and other events to encourage pupils, parents and teachers to see manufacturing as a career and are linking up with National Science and Engineering Week.

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