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Making Scotland’s future - recovery plan for manufacturing sector

Published: 04/12/2020

Views are being sought on proposals to secure a strong, sustainable future for the manufacturing sector.

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The manufacturing recovery plan has been developed by the Scottish Government, its enterprise and skills agencies, industry partners, trades unions and academics to support the sector over the next 12 months.

It focuses on four priority areas: collaboration and networks, supply chains and competitiveness, adaptation and transformation, and skills and workforce.

Actions include:

  • developing a manufacturing start-up accelerator, drawing on international best practice, to get more investment into new or early stage companies
  • supporting inward investors to create new supply chain opportunities for Scottish manufacturers
  • providing funding and support to help more manufacturing companies make the shift to digital solutions and low carbon practices that reduce costs and increase profits
  • developing a skills programme that will help workers reskill or put their transferable skills to use in other parts of the manufacturing sector

The proposals will be the subject of consultation over the next six weeks and will be finalised in early 2021. 

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Like many parts of the economy, manufacturing has been deeply affected by the pandemic and Brexit uncertainty remains a threat.

“We’ve also seen Scotland’s manufacturers demonstrating their flexibility and adaptability in these difficult times. This winter, for example, nearly half of all personal protective equipment used by NHS Scotland will be made here, providing security of supply and supporting jobs. Prior to coronavirus (COVID-19) it was all sourced from outside Scotland so this is an incredible achievement.

“This plan sets out a bold agenda, building on strong foundations to take advantage of new opportunities in technology, digital and green innovation. Manufacturing will be critical to our long-term economic recovery and we want to hear views from across this diverse sector.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has been engaged in the drafting of the plan and will be involved in the delivery.

Steven Hutcheon, HIE’s acting regional head of technology and innovation, said:

“HIE welcomes this recovery plan, manufacturing is an important sector for the Highlands and Islands and one which has been hard hit by Covid-19.  In areas such as Moray up to 17% of employment is in the sector compared with a national average of 9%.  We look forward to working with the Scottish Govt and partners to support the manufacturing sector”

Linda Hanna, Interim Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:

“This plan goes beyond recovery to lead a manufacturing renaissance that is sustainable in every sense.

“The adaptability of the industry was clear to see as it rose to the challenges of COVID-19 by changing working practices, producing PPE and maintaining essential supplies, highlighting the sector’s resilience.

“What is important is that Scotland has an outward and forward-looking, innovative manufacturing sector. A sector where collaboration and talent are key, where there are future trade, investment and supply chain opportunities, and where manufacturing and the valuable jobs it supports are at the heart of the economy.”

Paul Sheerin, CEO of Scottish Engineering, said:

“A challenge of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic demands a response that is ambitious, coordinated and uses all the available existing expertise whilst actively seeking new pathways to turn adversity into opportunity. 

“By focusing and coordinating Scotland’s excellent support organisations, and working in partnership with industry, the actions of this plan will enable manufacturers to do what they do best: adapt, transform and continuously improve to ensure sustainable recovery of a sector that is critical to Scotland’s economic wellbeing.”

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