Inward investment, innovation, education and government incentives could be among the key drivers of economic growth in the Sheffield City Region, according to the region’s Manufacturing Forum.
But, companies themselves need to boost in-house training and there also needs to be improved access to university expertise for small and medium sized enterprises, says the Forum, in a submission to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The Forum represents companies with a combined turnover of more than £3 billion, who employ the majority of the 37,000 working in manufacturing across the region.
It says the ultimate aim of any economic strategy developed by the partnership must be growth, but stresses job creation will lag behind economic success.
Master Cutler Pam Liversidge, who chairs the forum, said: “Most manufacturers are looking to grow their businesses with the same number of workers or even less.
“As employers, we must tell schools and colleges exactly what we need from them and their students to ensure the jobs that do become available can go to local people. This needs to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.”
Immediate past master Professor Bill Speirs, who made the submission to the LEP, added: “It could be that growth will come without an increase in employment in manufacturing and the LEP will have to look to the service industries to boost employment numbers. But it is absolutely vital for the future of manufacturing in this region that we are clear as to the unified direction we should be taking to promote growth and secure our future.
“We accept that our proposals may not generate any actual finance but we are confident that they will lead to the removal of barriers to ensure that manufacturing organisations within Sheffield City Region can thrive.”