CEO blog: UK industrial strategy – securing jobs and a stronger economy

That’s the title of the joint Government and CBI conference that I attended on Wednesday in Coventry.

The key “take out” from the day was that industry and government have found a new way of working together for the benefit of the UK. In the past, government hasn’t been there for industry when it has needed help. And, worse than that, when it hasn’t needed help, government has often been heavy with regulation and control.

Now with the joint objective of rebalancing the economy we are in a new and powerful era of co-operation to achieve a common goal

The whole event was well-attended, bringing together industrialists, ministers and the leadership of key government departments and the overall feel of the conference was overwhelmingly positive and energetic.

The HVM Catapult is at the forefront of this new approach and I can say that it does feel different and positive. By way of example, for the HVM Catapult, against our stretch target of having 33% of our funding from industry, our first quarter results this year show that we are at 38% and climbing.

This tells me that industry values what we are doing. Key to the Catapult model working is the matched contribution from UK Government to provide the cutting edge resources to develop new manufacturing technologies in our seven centres. It was good to see this recognised at the conference as well.

In one of the breakout groups in the conference titled: “Technologies – Accelerating the Commercialisation of Technology”, the Catapult programme was discussed and it is clear that there is strong support for it.

In particular there was strong support for “sticking with the plan”, and to invest in programmes, like the HVM Catapult, that are proving successful, rather than broaden scope too much and dilute effort and focus. These comments found their way through to the plenary session in the very spirited closing remarks.

There was measured optimism in the air at the end of the conference: with favourable manufacturing economic indicators, checked and balanced with a “let’s not rest on our laurels” message.

Pretty much the mood in the HVM Catapult I’d say…

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