The Future of the UK Engineering & Manufacturing Industry

Martin Doyle, Managing Director of Engineering Technology Group, explains why his company got involved in the MCMT.

When we agreed to sponsor the CNC Zone at the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT) in Bridgnorth it was an easy decision to make.

The venue – in the heart of Shropshire – offered us an ideal location to showcase our new machines and technology and could also be used by the next generation of engineers due to being trained there.

It would form an important spoke in our Technical Academy Network and reinforced our commitment to customers in the strategically important West Midlands. In short, it made perfect business sense.

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of enjoying a sneak peek inside the MCMT. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I was blown away. A badly lit, 36,000 sq ft old storage unit on a traditional industrial estate in Bridgnorth had been transformed into a bright, modern-day oasis of manufacturing activity.

There were 15 lathes, 15 millers, a fully calibrated metrology lab, vehicle ramps in operation, welding bays being installed and robotics. It felt and looked like someone had transported me to a world-class manufacturing facility – better still it still wasn’t even finished then.

Our CNC Zone fits perfectly with the myriad of state-of-the-art technology on display. In this area, apprentices, manufacturing staff and SMEs can take their pick from three Bridgeport Hardinge GX480s, 2 GS150s, a V1000 and twin-spindle technology on the Chiron DZ15W. All have a mixture of Siemens, Heidenhain and Fanuc controls.

If it felt like this to me – an industry hardened 40 or so something – then you can imagine the impact it will have on young people, their parents and employers when they first visit. It will probably do more to change the perception of engineering and what a career in this sector could like than anything politicians have been saying or doing over the last decade.

So well done to the private sector-led consortium behind it…Grainger & Worrall, Classic Motor Cars, Salop Design & Engineering and training provider In-Comm. They have created the dream and leveraged funding from the Marches LEP and other partners to turn the vision into reality and now thousands of young people and firms in the region can start to benefit.

Roll on tomorrow!