Supported by £70 million of investment, a new strategy for manufacturing – A Manufacturing Future for Scotland – outlines how government will work with industry and with higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in Scottish manufacturing in order that it can better compete globally.
Manufacturing represents over half of Scotland’s international exports and of our investment in research and development, with nearly 190,000 people employed in the industry.
The funding, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund, will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy.
This includes a Circular Economy Investment Fund to help manufacturers develop innovative technologies, business models and infrastructure, from the proof of concept stage through to implementation. It will also introduce a new Circular Economy Service, offering development support to businesses seeking to redesign their processes and products.
Complementing this service, the plan will also help to address anticipated demand for skills by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and improving engagement between industry and education.
Work done in this area by Primary Engineer, a Glasgow City of Science partner, is highlighted in the strategy document. Together with Skills Development Scotland they have helped deliver education programmes that encourage future skills in STEM from an early age. The case study (page 22) outlines their ‘design and make’ Curriculum for Excellence-linked activities run with East Ayrshire Council which aim to inspire and motivate children while offering teaching staff a wide range of capacity-building CPD opportunities. Pupils also take part in the Scottish Engineering Special Leaders Award ensuring that greater numbers aspire to work in engineering.
Speaking during a visit to Glenhead Engineering in Clydebank, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “Scotland has a long and proud manufacturing heritage and manufacturing must also be a key driver of our future prosperity.
“The products we make, from pharmaceuticals to textiles, represent over 50 per cent of our international exports and 54 per cent of our expenditure on research and development.
“While manufacturing has undergone a significant transformation in recent decades, with increased globalisation and greater use of digital technology, it remains a high skills and high wage sector, with earnings that are above the Scottish average.
“Our Programme for Government committed us to further action and backed by £70 million of new circular economy funding, the Action Plan outlines how the Scottish Government, our Enterprise Agencies and Zero Waste Scotland will work with industry and higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, productivity and investment. Amongst the key actions in the strategy will be the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Manufacturing which will act as a hub for continuous innovation to ensure Scotland remains a sustainable and competitive place to do business.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said, “A circular economy provides an opportunity to support the competitiveness of our manufacturing base and attract investment – through eradicating waste, and becoming more efficient in our design and manufacturing processes to extend product life-cycles.
“The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Service will offer vital support to manufacturers that are seeking to develop processes and products that improve the economic performance of SMEs while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, in line with Scottish Government and EU policies.
“The Scottish Government will shortly publish our circular economy strategy – Making Things Last – which will set out in more detail our priorities for delivering the economic, environmental and social benefits of a more circular economy.”
Linda Hanna, Managing Director for Strategy and Sectors at Scottish Enterprise, said, “Scotland has a rich and diverse manufacturing industry and I believe there is a significant opportunity to grow the industry, help companies take greater advantage of global markets and increase the contribution this makes to our economy.
“The action plan sets out how we’ll help companies develop their business further, in areas like leadership, innovation and efficiency.
“For example, we’re introducing an enhanced Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service to conduct capital asset reviews and a new service to help embed workplace and employee practices that will drive innovation. Working with industry and partners, and through this action plan, we’re fully committed to continuing to provide the best support we can to help Scotland’s manufacturers grow.”
Scottish Enterprise: ‘Scotland’s Manufacturing Action Plan‘