UK manufacturing isn’t all doom and gloom – here are some things to be proud of


With Brexit taking over the news, we’re constantly being bombarded with information about how Britain is suffering, how our economy is failing, and how our future is looking bleak. It’s so easy to focus on the negatives, especially when they are being shared on the news and through social media.

One of the biggest discussions at the moment is about how our manufacturing and engineering industries are being hit by a ‘steep decline’ due to the Brexit negotiations. Factories are shutting down, people are losing their jobs, and production lines are slowing.

As with everything though, we are only being shown the tip of the iceberg. Doom and gloom is what sells and shares best after all. So let’s have a look at just why we should be proud of our manufacturing industry and the work it is doing.

UK manufacturing statistics

The UK is currently ranked as the eighth largest industrial nation in the world, and it’s growing at a rate that would suggest it could break into the top 5 by 2021. 44% of the UK’s exports are from manufacturing, and the industry also contributes 11% of the UK’s GVA (Gross Value Added), and 70% of the UK’s business R&D (Research and Development).

STEM careers

With the current resurgence in manufacturing comes the many new <a href=””>career opportunities</a> for both young people and those with experience in the field. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, has a sizeable shortage of skilled UK professionals, and as such is a priority for businesses and education professionals who are teaching our current and future generations. It’s also becoming more popular at home, with many children learning basic principles from a young age.

There is a current recruitment drive in the UK to open up more STEM careers and opportunities for women. In fact, the World Institute of Scientology Enterprise (WISE) tells us that the UK’s target is to <a href=””>recruit 1 million women into STEM positions</a> by 2020. For decades it has been an industry that favours men over women, whether in pay or opportunity. This is an exciting time for women, as we see more and more role models being created for young girls. It is a major step forward towards gender parity and one that should be encouraged and supported at all costs.

Climate change emergency

The UK has just become the first country to declare a climate change emergency. With the United Nations giving us just 12 years left to avert a climate catastrophe, hopefully, more countries will soon follow suit.

<a href=””>Sustainability</a> has become a large part of the manufacturing industry over recent years, with a particular focus on environmentally friendly and ethical methods of conducting and powering businesses. There are so many ways to reduce waste and utilise renewable energy, but a lot of it will fall back on the manufacturing and engineering industries investing in these ideas and creating something new for us to work with. With trade relationships with Europe uncertain, the UK will be working on ways to provide for itself and ensure its own sustainability.

Manufacturing groups

There are many manufacturing groups in the UK, both local and national, which provide information and support for businesses in the industry. These groups, such as Made in Midlands and Manufacturers Alliance, have shown an even stronger sense of community in recent years when times have been tough and uncertain. It’s this sense of community and loyalty which helps the industry to continue to thrive.

Growth at Subcon Laser

General manager Tom Mongan and production manager Linzi Obrien are two such examples of loyalty. They have recently celebrated 25 years and 22 years respectively at Subcon Laser. Having such loyal and long-lasting employees shows stability to others in the field, and offers encouragement to those looking to join. Subcon Laser is also one such company which is showing a steady growth rather than decline. In 30 years of trading, 2018 was our best year in terms of profit and growth, and we are on track to continue with this success in 2019.

The future of UK manufacturing

It’s important to remember that every industry has its ups and downs. It’s all based on consumer need, and those needs change regularly. The UK’s current need is to be more sustainable – to be able to provide for itself, in an ethical and environmentally-friendly way.

As such, the manufacturing industry in the UK has so much potential to grow over the next few years. The UK’s current target is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. This will require us to lean heavily on our industries to provide us with a new way of thinking, and the tools we need to effect this change.

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