Manufacturers in Norfolk need better investment, says company manager
- Credit: Submitted
East Anglia would be better placed to become a successful manufacturing zone if there was more investment in infrastructure and apprenticeships.
That's according to the boss of Anglia Harvesters, which is part of the dealer network for German-based manufacturing group Claas, and one of many UK companies which is an assembly line rather than a total manufacturer.
John Palmer, commercial manager at the firm in Bury St Edmunds, said with access to ports, air routes, dual carriageways and the Channel Tunnel nearby, Norfolk and Suffolk was in a unique position to export large-scale manufactured goods – but the challenges were immense.
'There are local manufacturers, and I'm not knocking those, but the heavy industry manufacturers with international growth... there are very few of those for ambitious people in this region to work at,' said Mr Palmer. 'There's JCB outside the region, they're one of our few really big manufacturers left. Even John Deere has no manufacturing done here, it's all done in America or Germany.
'We're very well-placed because we have all the communication links with the ports, you've got Stansted close by and Harwich as well. 'Whether you could get all the other infrastructure is another question. We'd have to get the skills base in the region right up again, you need people with the expertise in plant maintenance. It would take a concerted effort from the government to really hit targets.'
You may also want to watch:
Claas UK has an apprenticeship scheme which currently has 20 young people on course, with around three applicants to one position.
In Germany, said Mr Palmer, the company could expect to see closer to 100 applicants for each position – showing the greater focus on vocational training in that nation.
- 1 Boss puts Queen Anne family home up for sale for £1.325m
- 2 Town's country park remains closed after woman's body discovered
- 3 Woman found dead in country park is named
- 4 'You get relegated playing the Norwich way' - Old boy Bruce on Magpies' sorry plight
- 5 Prince Philip memorial erected in town park just a day after his death
- 6 Childhood friends unite to launch barbershop together
- 7 Investigations continuing after drugs seized during police raid
- 8 New Turkish takeaway which cooks over coals shows how kebabs should be done
- 9 EFL announce revised schedule to avoid Prince Philip funeral clash
- 10 Giant Wheel soon to be 'operational' on popular seafront
Mr Palmer's comments follow a Confederation of British Industry report this month which showed mixed fortunes for manufacturing industries, with the lowest number of orders since October last year, but an improvement on export orders.
Speaking about the UK's manufacturing figures generally, the CBI's director of economics Rain Newton-Smith called on the government to take action to support British manufacturers to export overseas.
'To drive trade progress forwards, we want to see the new government re-commit to an ambitious, long-term exports target to fully unlock the UK's potential,' said Mr Newton-Smith. 'Doing this will be vital to boosting investment, jobs and growth right across the country.'
Is your company pursuing new export routes? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.