Although I was installed as Master Cutler just a few weeks ago, already my diary is crammed with business meetings, conferences, interviews and events. Not that I am complaining. To be elected Master Cutler is a huge privilege and one which I, like my predecessors, intend to embrace with enthusiasm.
There has been a Master Cutler in Hallamshire since 1624 and I think it is safe to say that we have all shared the same three passions – manufacturing, the Cutlers’ Company and the City of Sheffield – now expanded to the Sheffield City Region. As with my predecessors, I intend to promote all three in my year of office.
The key message to Government is the need to set-out a long-term industrial strategy that encompasses the next 15 to 20 years.
Investment planning in transport, skill provision, energy, taxation and access to markets should be viewed with the aim of improving manufacturing businesses’ competitiveness in world markets.
Only in this way will we see sustainable growth in the economy.
As a measure of my seriousness, I have taken a year off from work commitments in order to dedicate myself to the task and last week I had the pleasure of participating in one of the Cutlers’ Company more tangible successes.
Led by Past Master Doug Liversidge, and supported by the Company and Sheffield City Council, we have developed our Made in Sheffield Education scheme – a two-year programme which prepares ‘Ambassadors’ for the realities of work by putting them in work environments and providing them with essential life and business skills.
I was delighted to hand out 100 Ambassadors’ badges to young people from five schools. It is a programme in which everyone is a winner – the students, employers and schools, who benefit through highly motivated students. There is now an increased demand to expand the number of Ambassadors and to include more schools and more age groups
Finally, the Company has a long history of charitable giving and this year will be no exception. In a few months we will be launching the annual Master Cutler Challenge , giving all participating businesses £50 to turn into a larger sum.
This year, my wife Ruth and I have chosen the Brathay Trust which works with vulnerable and disengaged young people. They will also be working with Help for Heroes and Future for Heroes to help young people from the armed forces to reintegrate into civilian life.