In 2012, manufacturing employed over 315,000 people in the North West, contributing almost 13 per cent of the UK's overall manufacturing output. The industry generated 11 per cent of the region's output.
Like all regions in the United Kingdom, the economic events of the past five years have impacted on the manufacturing industry, however, there are signs that the region is recovering steadily from the recession. "We are seeing far more positive signs that growth will pick up," said David Ost, regional director at the EEF North West.
Indeed, there are many positive stories coming from the manufacturing sector in the region. Bentley Motors and General Motors both have bases in the North West, while Jaguar LandRover has tripled the size of its Halewood workforce in just three years.
Meanwhile, many are hoping that an increased focus on exporting will help drive the region's manufacturing sector forward. A recent poll from the Manufacturing Advisory Service found that 85 per cent of firms in the region aspired to increase their interactional orders, with Rachel Eale from the service stating that, "Exporting has been a key driver in the upsurge in manufacturing and this shows no signs of changing, even with the Eurozone in turmoil."
However, like the North East, there is a concern that the region will encounter a skills shortage in the coming decade. "The government, and to an extent industry, is doing too little to educate young people at a grass roots level about the benefits of choosing a career in manufacturing," states John Morris, chief executive of Sale-based JAM recruitment.
"North West manufacturers have become reliant upon a shrinking population of highly-skilled older workers to fulfil the jobs they need now while staring at a yawning skills gap on the horizon."
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