We started the morning with Richard Paxman and the inspirational story of how he transformed his family business and in turn transformed the lives of cancer patients throughout the world. The lessons he shared chimed with many in the room who balance creativity and innovation with the practicalities of running a business.
Steph McGovern welcomed delegates and talked through the exciting events of the day including the Apprentice Hub Challenge which would be taking place alongside the conference. Next up was Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK. Stephen spoke passionately about how much the public cares about manufacturing however there is very little awareness of what modern manufacturing looks and feels like. He gave an overview of the current political situation, detailing manufacturers asks for the forthcoming budget and also outlined the exciting new services recently launched at Make UK.
Stephen handed over to Andrew Neil. The journalist and broadcaster set the scene by providing insight into the economy and the upcoming trade negotiations – let’s see if his prediction for a bust up between the UK and EU in the spring is accurate. Many of his comments, particularly regarding the future of supply chains, got everyone thinking. Rest assured that Make UK will continue to work in lockstep with the government to ensure that manufacturers are supported in this time of transformation for the UK business community.
Delegates then split up to attend the break-out sessions that were taking place across the conference. Our workshops covered the whole spectrum of interests: from productivity to trade, defence to skills and more. Our UK Steel workshop discussion was about maximising the growth opportunities available through the length of the supply chain and the continued importance of a coherent industrial strategy. Meanwhile our export workshop focussed on the importance of identifying and understanding your market, whilst globalisation and e-commerce makes it easier to export today than it has ever been.
Delegates had a 2 hour lunch break to network with the exhibitors, Make UK staff and partake in the onsite activities. Following lunch our apprentice panel spoke inspiringly about their challenges and triumphs today; we are confident that the manufacturing sector has a bright future in their hands.
It was an honour to then host the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and President of COP 26 Alok Sharma in his first public engagement in the role. It was great to hear his priorities and we look forward working with him as we move forward – particularly on the upcoming COP26 summit in November.
Our closing speaker Lord Sebastian Coe also provided great insight on leadership from his long and illustrious career and gave us all terrific food for thought to take back into our businesses.
The day rounded off with food and drinks at the extended post reception where delegates could engage in casual conversations and discuss the hot topics for a final farewell to a great day.