Yorkshire's manufacturing sector to take centre stage at Great Northern Conference

Yorkshire’s manufacturing sector can play a pivotal role in closing the North-South economic divide, according to a leading industry figure.

By Business Editor David Walsh
Thursday, 15th October 2020, 4:45 pm

Steve Foxley, head of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, said it was essential to the economic recovery - and solving ‘grand challenges’ facing society, including climate change.

The AMRC is part of the University of Sheffield which is sponsoring a debate titled ‘Manufacturing Innovation in the North: powering a green recovery’ at The Great Northern Conference.

The day-long event is online and free to attend. To see the agenda and book tickets, go to: https://www.greatnorthernpowerhouse.co.uk

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Steve Foxley, head of the AMRC.

Topics at the conference include also education and skills, ‘levelling up’, the importance of a cultural strategy, creating a health agenda for the North, small businesses, digital infrastructure development and energy and sustainable infrastructure.

Mr Foxley will debate with Ruth Nic Aoidh, executive director of purchasing, commercial, government affairs and legal at McLaren Automotive and former Siemens UK chief executive Jürgen Maier CBE.

He said: “Looking back to the early months of this year, when the first reports began to emerge of a new virus, it was impossible to know just quite how devastating its impact would be on human health, society and the damage it would inflict on global economies.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created a chaotic landscape, but beyond the urgent short-term challenges much remains the same.

"We cannot afford to lose sight of the long-term issues and problems that must be tackled: climate change, the productivity slump, levelling-up between the North and South and the consequences we face as we leave the European Union. Uncertainty may loom about what the coming months will bring.

“But there will be opportunities too; opportunities that support our green recovery. It is vital we are courageous and have clarity in our purpose. We must look to the future and for ways to make things better.”

Mr Foxley added: “As this pandemic has shown, manufacturing and engineering are not just sectors of the UK economy – they are its essentials. Essential to healthcare; essential to clean energy; to transport and travel; essential to the food we eat and the air we breathe.

“They have a leading role to play in solving the grand challenges facing our society, and in the levelling-up and rebalancing of our economy.”

Organised by JPIMedia - parent company of The Star and the Yorkshire Post - and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, the GNC is a meeting of business and civic leaders, from Liverpool to Newcastle, spanning all sectors of the economy and political parties.

It aims to fire up the campaign for an end to regional disparity, hammer out how best to grow the North’s £329 billion economy, and build a greener, fairer and more equal society, and shout about the North’s value as a huge engine of opportunity that is larger than Scotland and Wales combined.

Some 350 people in business, politics, local government, charity, media and the public sector attended the inaugural event in Leeds last year.

For more information go to: www.greatnorthernpowerhouse.co.uk/

The headline sponsor is Virgin Money.

The Great Northern Conference has attracted a host of major sponsors including:

Key Note Sponsor Sellafield

Key Note Sponsor: Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Breakout Sponsor - Northern Health Alliance

Breakout Sponsor - Northern Gas and Power

Breakout Sponsor - TalkTalk

Breakout Sponsor - Arcadis

Support Sponsor - Be The Business

Bespoke Support Sponsor - Sheffield Hallam University

Bespoke Support Sponsor - University of Sheffield

The Northern Health Science Alliance

Global Procurement Group

Clear.VUE

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

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