Coming up at Policy Connect: Floriane Fidegnon, Head of Industry, Technology & Innovation, discusses the upcoming Manufacturing Commission inquiry

I joined Policy Connect as the new Head of Industry, Technology and Innovation in January 2021, having previously worked as a manufacturing engineer in a pharmaceutical supply chain. One of my first projects as Head of the team has been to work with my colleague Rob Allen on delivering the latest Parliamentary inquiry from the Manufacturing Commission. The inquiry focusses on Sustainable Manufacturing, through a series of Parliamentary roundtables and evidence sessions, culminating in a written piece of research that makes clear recommendations to Government.

The inquiry will focus on three key themes:

  1.  Skills for sustainable manufacturing (productivity and resilience)

The inquiry will look at the challenges the sector faces in finding the skills needed to deliver a fully Digitalised Net zero sector, and will consider the benefits of lifetime training alongside skills development during further and higher education.

  1. What are the barriers to transitioning to sustainable manufacturing? (productivity and sustainability)

The inquiry should present the manufacturing sector as the provider of solutions, i.e. providing tools for combatting COVID-19, developing technologies to meet our net-zero target, providing resilient infrastructure, creating jobs that pay above the national average, levelling up the regions, and providing strong exports.

  1. What does success look like? (building back better)

We believe that Success should be measured by how well the manufacturing ‘ecosystem’ works (i.e. how well it collaborates with other sectors, regulators, and Government).  A successful skills system should allow manufacturers to be able to tap into the skills that they need easily and be able to retrain employees quickly.  Finally, success will also be measured against the UK’s net-zero target.

Our call for evidence is still currently open and we are halfway through our programme of Roundtables. It has been a privilege to be a part of the sessions so far, the contributions have been extremely insightful and a breadth of issues (and solutions!) have been covered. I would like to thank Robert Allen for putting together an excellent inquiry, as well as our sponsors: Enginuity; High Value Manufacturing Catapult; the ERA Foundation.

I must also thank our commissioners for providing their support and expertise thus far: Lord Bilimoria (Chair), Jack Dromey MP (vice-Chair), Mark Pawsey MP (vice-Chair), Sarah Olney MP (vice-Chair), Professor John Latham (vice-Chair), Rosa Wilkinson (HVM Catapult), Keith Robson (ERA Foundation), Jacqueline Hall (Enginuity), Verity Davidge (Make UK), Professor Steve Evans (IfM), Professor Tim Minshall (IfM), Paul Everitt (ADS), Margot James (Warwick Manufacturing Group), Steve Turner (Unite), Beverley Neilsen (Birmingham City University), Tor Farquhar (TATA Steel) and Professor David Seall.  

The report is due to be published in late Spring, I look forward to sharing this with you and the impact work that is sure to follow.