UK manufacturing bosses hit out at government on immigration

UK BorderUK manufacturing sector bosses today accused the government of acting unreasonably in restricting employers’ access to skilled graduates from outside of Europe.

In a submission of evidence to the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee inquiry into international STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) students, the manufacturers’ organisation EEF argued that Government is acting unreasonably in restricting employers’ ability to access skilled non-EEA graduates.

EEF criticises the Government’s decision to abolish the so-called Tier 1 post-study work route, arguing that this decision is restricting employers’ ability to attract vital STEM graduates from outside of Europe, many of whom were left with no choice but to leave the UK after completing their studies.

It further argues that the process of recruiting international graduates is time-consuming and burdensome, further hampering employers’ efforts to bring new international talent into their companies.

EEF’s evidence says a quarter of manufacturers have recruited a non-EEA graduate in the past three years and one in ten plan to do so in the next three years. Four in ten companies had difficulties securing a sponsorship licence when recruiting a non-EEA student and almost a half had difficulties obtaining a visa for their non-EEA graduate employee.

Tim Thomas, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at EEF, said: “Manufacturers rely on the recruitment of non-EEA graduates to meet their skills needs, particularly those that hold degrees in the sciences, technologies, engineering and maths (STEM). Government policy should not unreasonably restrict employers’ ability to access this talent pool; however industry fears that current migration policy is doing just that.

“Government should promote the value of international graduates, just as employers do. It should restore the Tier 1 post-study work route, or, introduce a route which allows international STEM graduates to stay in the UK after their studies to occupy hard-to-fill roles in industries such as manufacturing. Government must work harder to remove the hurdles employers face when recruiting international graduates, giving businesses simple, easy access to skills they desperately need”

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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JLR jobs fest begins as bosses pick up top industry awards

JLRrecruitThe fairy story that is Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) under the ownership of the Indian steel-making conglomerate Tata continues to be happy but shows no signs of ending.

Yesterday, the company’s CEO Dr Ralf Speth picked up an industry award from a jury of leading European journalists “in recognition of his significant contribution in transforming the fortunes of the leading British business and its iconic motoring marques”. Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Design Director, picked up the best design award.

Meanwhile, JLR yesterday began the recruitment of the 1,700 new jobs first announced in last September 2013. The first phase will recruit more than 500 semi-skilled production operator jobs to support the production of new vehicles at the firm’s Solihull site.

The recruitment of the 1,700 new jobs will be conducted in three phases with the next two kicking off later this year and early in 2015

William Wigley (pictured), an aluminium body shop group leader at the company said: “For job seekers at any stage of life, a job is important but also the opportunity to progress in your career and look to the future is equally important.  I have never been so proud to work for a global, iconic, world-class manufacturer in my 25 years of working life and am pleased to contribute to this success.”

A recruitment portal where applicants can view available vacancies and apply online is at

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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£7m BMW contract will push Cab Automotive towards £40m sales

autoseatCar interiors specialist Cab Automotive, says the re-emergence of the UK car industry as a global leader is helping it towards the fastest growth in its nine year history.

Cab Automotive has secured £7m of new contracts to supply parts for the new BMW Mini and the seat foams for the Renault van which it believes will help it push turnover towards the £40m level and increase the workforce by 30%.

It marks an exciting twelve months for the company which has seen it work with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) to develop new opportunities and, importantly, buy its 200,000 sq ft factory in Tipton.

Finance director Richard McCulloch acknowledged the help of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in facilitating Cab Automotive’s growth.

“Managing this growth was one thing, but at the same time we were told by our landlord that there was a chance our facility could be sold. The only solution was to buy the land, as that would give us the platform and security to plan for the next decade,” he explained.

“Working with MAS’ Rachel Eade we developed an application to the Regional Growth Fund that saw us successfully secure £1m towards the £4.5m total cost of the purchase.

Cab Automotive said it had spent more than £4m on capital equipment, a state-of-the-art foam production line, new machines for wrapping BMW Mini arm rests and a new water jet cutter.

The company’s other customers include Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Nissan, Toyota and McLaren Automotive.

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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Big Bang on for Birmingham

bigbangThe 2014 Big Bang (UK Young Scientists & Engineers) Fair, is to take place at the NEC, Birmingham from 13 – 16 March.

Billed as the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for 17 to 19 year-olds, the fair will feature theatre shows and interactive exhibits as well as offering the opportunity to meet some leading scientists and engineers.

The Big Bang Fair is delivered by 170 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors, including EngineeringUK, the British Science Associate and the Institute of Physics. It is sponsored by the engineering firm Renishaw whose education liaison executive Julie Collins believes it is “increasingly important that we encourage young people to study subjects that will give them the qualifications that they will require for an interesting and rewarding career in engineering and science”.

In 2013, the Big Bang Fair hosted 65,000 visitors. Booking is now available online at

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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Amarinth leads the way to growth

amarinthSuffolk pump manufacturer Amarinth says the implementation of “an effective leadership strategy” has helped it to boost exports, increase sales and take on eight new people.

Amarinth, a specialist in the design, application and manufacture of centrifugal pumps and associated equipment, said it had seen demand for its API 610 registered products from clients in the petrochemical sector surge and is now on course to hit record turnover this year.

Based in the seaside town of Woodbridge, the company also supplies general industry and the chemical markets and exports 90% of its annual sales to blue chips customers including BP, Petrofac and Shell.

The firm’s Alex Brigginshaw acknowledged the help Amarinth had received from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).

“We were keen to ensure that the leadership capabilities of the business matched our own ambitions, which is why we opted for the leadership training. The expansion of the business has meant our managers now have an extended reporting line and we needed to ensure this was as strong as it could be.”

Amarinth said it had now turned its attention to new export markets, focusing on the North Sea, Asian Pacific and the Middle East where it currently supplies into Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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Manufacturers face ‘significant barriers’ on energy-saving

emissions300UK manufacturing bosses have told their ‘union’ and the energy giant npower that, when it comes to managing gas and electricity costs, they face “significant barriers”, including extensive payback periods for the cash they put into saving energy.

In answer to a new EEF/npower survey released today manufacturers also said they were increasing their investment in strategic energy management and efficiency, in order to improve their competitive position against a backdrop of rising energy costs.

Gareth Stace, Head of Climate & Environment Policy at EEF, said: “Managing higher energy costs whilst maintaining international competitiveness is one of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers today.”

The rise of energy on the boardroom agenda was emphasised by the fact that over a third of CEOs and Managing Directors retain control over energy efficiency decisions, with a similar number taking the lead on procurement.

The survey also shows that since 2002 the industrial price of gas has increased by 122%, while industrial electricity prices have increased by 94%.

Two thirds of manufacturers cited that payback periods are a key barrier to engaging in energy efficiency.

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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Renishaw’s Engineering Experience contest now open

reniyoungRenishaw, the UK-based engineering technologies company and Young Engineers, the organisation devoted to encouraging careers in engineering, have announced that entries are now being invited for the 2014 version of a competition to win a fully subsidised, five-day package of activities to encourage a career in engineering.

The partnership is again running the competition that will enable six young people to experience a unique week-long insight into engineering-based organisations. The Renishaw Engineering Experience, which is open to all full-time UK students aged 16-18, will take place from the 30th June – 4th July 2014.
Renishaw said the competition was running at a time when many UK businesses, including its own, were struggling to fill vacancies for skilled engineers..
HR manager Peter Bowler said 2013’s six lucky winners (pictured visiting HMS Dauntless) were now helping to spread a positive message about the rewarding careers that they witnessed during their week-long tour.

The experience will allow the six winners to get close to successful engineering-led organisations and heritage sites, meet the people behind their success, and see products that impact daily lives.

Entry is open until 31 March 2014, with selection and interviews taking place in April. Full details can be found on the Young Engineers website at<>

Copyright Ken Hurst 2014

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