Argenta were invited to the EEF conference to join hundreds of fellow manufacturing specialists for networking and to listen to some really inspiring speakers. Two of the stand out speakers for Chris were Greg Clark MP and Jo Malone.
Jo Malone spoke about the development of her fragrance companies, going back to when she first started out using plastic jugs in her apartment! It was inspiring to hear what she had achieved, which opens your eyes to the possibilities if you stay focused and adapt to change.
Greg Clarke gave an overview of the Industrial Strategy that was released on 2nd February 2017 to open up discussion on the long term growth for productivity. The interesting thing about this is that it has been opened up to industry for discussion and feedback. The strategy defines 10 pillars:
• Investing in science, research and innovation • Developing skills • Upgrading infrastructure • Supporting business to start and grow • Improving procurement • Encouraging trade and inward investment • Delivering affordable energy and clean growth • Cultivating world-leading sectors • Driving growth across the whole country • Creating the right intuitions
These pillars are all connected and focus on decreasing productivity gaps. Statistics show that France, Germany and the US produce on average as much in four days as we do in five. There is also a productivity gap between the regions across the UK. Decreasing this gap nationally and regionally is closely linked to sustainable growth in living standards across the UK.
The pillars that Chris can most closely relate to are developing skills and cultivating world leading sectors. As an ex apprentice he is passionate about vocational training and the apprenticeship route as a really great way to start your career. Having the opportunity to develop your skills within industry alongside your education has huge benefits. Chris thinks that there is also a common theme within companies relating to this, in that companies are somewhat afraid to invest in developing the skills of their work force through fear of them leaving. However, he can’t imagine that employees who didn’t feel as if they were being invested in would be keen to stick around anyway.
Regarding the cultivation of world leading sectors, Chris believes that collaboration is key. Collaboration is vital to the success of Argenta’s business and we put significant effort into developing good working relationships with clients and partners. This increases flexibility, competitiveness and breadth of available skills. This ultimately results in more opportunities in varying industries, which is great for the team as well as the commercial stability of Argenta. One area that Chris thinks could be improved is in cross industry collaboration. It’s not easily achieved, but there must be many examples of where a company in a particular industry makes a technological breakthrough that could be utilised within another industry.
All in all we believe this is a good step forward, there’s a lot to be done and that requires a major input from industry, which is what this Green Paper is trying to instigate. Get involved!