Harmonic Drive UK boss hits out at armchair skills critics

gearIn a letter to whatshappeninginmanufacturing, Graham Mackrell, managing director at the motors and drives specialist Harmonic Drive, hits out at critics of the government’s efforts to address manufacturing skills shortages.



The recent Perkins review calls upon parents, teachers, employers and Government to unite to address the shortage of engineers in the UK.

It’s encouraging to see that an engineering week arranged recently in Scarborough attracted a high turnout of young students, enabling them to interact with fun demonstrations and talk to friendly faces in what is often perceived to be an intimidating industry.

It’s less encouraging however, to see that some armchair critics have criticised the Government when it has finally made positive steps to unite the disparate engineering and manufacturing communities.

The UK has heritage of innovation. But despite being one of our greatest exports, our knowledge base has been eroded in recent years by the rapid growth of Asian markets. The Government’s announcement of £49m in funding to address the skills shortage therefore, is welcome news.

The rapid pace of technological innovation means that by the time students leave university, their understanding of the industry may be outdated. At Harmonic Drive we have just initiated a programme to work with final year and postgraduate students to provide up to date robotics and transmission knowledge.

I would call on other SMEs and small businesses to engage with your local community in bringing about this long awaited change to the industry in similar ways. Don’t leave it all to big business and Government. Perhaps then we can be justified in our armchair criticism.

Graham Mackrell, managing director

Wolseley Court,

Staffordshire Technology Park



About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
This entry was posted in Manufacturing management, Motors/machinery, skills and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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