Promoting the region on my travels as Master Cutler

The new Master Cutler Richard Edwards. Picture: Andrew Roe
The new Master Cutler Richard Edwards. Picture: Andrew Roe
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My first weeks as Master Cutler have made me realise that being fit and healthy is an essential aspect of the job description.

So far I have travelled the length a breadth of the country meeting Lord Mayors, dignitaries, members of the Royal family and business people. And everywhere I have promoted the region as THE place to invest.

The travel may take its toll on my energy levels, the dinners may eventually take their toll on my waistline but telling everyone what a great place the Sheffield City Region is has taken no effort at all.

As someone born and bred in South Yorkshire, I know how much we have to offer and my visits around the region have confirmed that. All this activity has allowed me to put across the messages which are so important to us all, if we are to thrive in the post-Brexit era. Whitehall needs to understand that manufacturing is a vital cog in the economy of this country. For it to contribute to its full potential, we need a long-term industrial strategy.

It is a message which the Cutlers’ Company has been pushing for the past few years. It seems the message is at last having an impact but we need to keep it at the forefront of government thinking.

One of the many delights of being Master Cutler is that I get to meet the engineers, innovators and leaders of tomorrow. I have already visited a number of schools and hope to include many more during the next few months.

Our educational Ambassadors mentoring scheme, renamed the Cutlers’ Better Learners- Better Workers, now encompasses more schools and some 500 students. Such a success has it been in Sheffield that it has expanded into Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster. It is employer-led and is helping to provide youngsters with the skills that businesses need. In the coming months I am expecting some good news stories to result from the progress these youngsters will inevitably make and have no doubt that, in the fullness of time, at least one of them will be writing this column as the new Master Cutler.