HELENA SANS Head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics
I am pleased that Barclays is supporting the 2018/19 UK Manufacturing Review, which reveals in one place so much about what the sector is achieving. Barclays addresses manufacturing as a core pillar of the UK economy; that may sound somewhat predictable, but I really believe our relationship managers and staff understand the added value that manufacturing generates, through suppliers and services, so we know the sector has strategic importance. As a relationship bank with 27% market share of the manufacturing industry, Barclays has a very important role to play in supporting this industry.
And when I see what we did in 2018 to support manufacturing, young people, local communities and funding the sector, I am proud. I want to devote this page briefly to four areas that we believe will boost the sector: Skills, local economies, investment and sharing knowledge.
Skills has always been the biggest challenge to manufacturing; for some companies it is the difference between success and failure. In 2018 our “How employable is the UK?” survey and tested over 10,000 16-65 year olds, 600 employers and 500 educators from across the UK. It found that nearly 6 in 10 adults failed to demonstrate all the core employability skills needed for the future world of work: proactivity, adaptability, leadership, creativity, resilience, communication and problem solving.
Recruiting the young into manufacturing jobs has always been difficult. We know the sector needs a much better image, so Barclays produced a 2018 survey of how Generation Z views this ageing sector. We found that just 6% of young people aged 16 to 23 had contemplated a future in manufacturing – even lower than we feared. But 23% are looking at careers in “digital and technology” and 22% in IT and computing jobs, suggesting that young people still see these three fields as distinctly separate, with little crossover.
There is a huge prize here. Working with partners, Barclays calculated that targeting young people through apprenticeships and education, manufacturing could boost its value by an extra £6bn a year by 2023.
This leads into the power of local economies. If Brexit has shown us anything, it is that the South East and other parts of the United Kingdom think and act differently. Beyond Brexit, London and the City must engage far more with provincial businesses and economies, not least because they have underutilised talent and power. In 2018 in Bury, Greater Manchester we launched a project to analyse the UK’s productivity crisis, that will explore apprenticeships as an alternative to university, how banks support small businesses and devolution of power from Westminster to the regions.
Why Bury? It is a bellwether for other market towns in the UK, with a mix of manufacturing, retail and financial services. And Barclays opened an office in Silver Street in 1798, so we have been there a while! Barclays wants to build thriving local communities across Britain and manufacturing is an essential part of that.
Investment and digitalisation
What are we doing about investing in manufacturing?
About a year ago we launched the Midlands Growth Fund, £370m to fund local businesses in the area, a five-year initiative that will work in tandem with the UK Government’s £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund. We selected the Midlands partly because it was found to be one of the best places in the UK to start and grow a business. We have several good wins already; for example, infrastructure services leader Auctus Group received £2.4 million from the Growth Fund to deliver its strategy to access markets including the rail and construction sectors. And we launched another regional fund – for £500m for SMEs in the North of England in 2018. The fund is for companies across the North, to help them to participate in and deliver the Northern Powerhouse programme, and was endorsed by Lord Jim O’Neill, former HM Treasury Minister and Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
Finally I want to mention Eagle Labs, for me one of Barclays’ most exciting initiatives. This is our own online platform to connect people, train them in digital skills and build online communities, covering skills like coding and additive manufacturing. It will help Barclays colleagues become the most “digitally