UK engineering & manufacturing matters for the next generation

As we reflect back over this year and what we’ve achieved at M-CNC, it has been a year of transitioning and change for many, but also positivity as we start to reconnect with those in our industry face to face once again. In the past few months, we had the pleasure of exhibiting at DSEI a four day global defence and security trade exhibition in London as well as hosting our very first Festival of British Engineering & Manufacturing (FOBEM).

It has been a really busy period for M-CNC and we caught up with our Business Development Manager, Leigh Howarth to get his thoughts and perspective over the last few months.

Why was it important for M-CNC to represent UK engineering & manufacturing at DSEI?

DSEI is a global exhibition bringing together those who work within the defence sector. We had a really successful 2019 show and wanted to keep momentum after developing a number of fantastic relationships whilst representing UK manufacturing and the capabilities and expertise of M-CNC.

We found that footfall was significantly down from 2019 due to the reduction in global visitors, but the enquiries that we did have were all genuine and once again we’ve had some really interesting conversations. Many of those have led to potential new contracts, however, it also gave us the opportunity to talk about FOBEM, create excitement about our event and get further involvement.

Why was FOBEM so important to you?      

I had a vision which was to inspire the next generation of engineers, and I was thrilled that we managed to accomplish such a big ambition. It was really important to me that school and college students could visualise the process, the end products and our technology in real-time. Our partners and suppliers united to raise awareness and invest their time and money to spread the word and to help enthuse the next generation, our industry really came together and I was extremely proud to represent UK manufacturing.

As an industry we have recognised that a skill gap issue has existed for many years, so it’s really important to be able to involve and inspire the next generation of engineers and make our industry accessible, especially to young women.

What is the future for the Festival of British Engineering & Manufacturing?

The industry has united and so we want to keep momentum, collaboratively making it bigger and better as we head into 2022.

I have several thoughts about how we can do this, including a manufacturing and engineering week where we bring together students from across the country with industry professionals, businesses and enterprises to create an educational but practical experience to encourage careers in engineering and manufacturing.

The important part is that the experience is held in workshop facilities across the UK, where students can experience the dynamism and creativity of this fast paced industry with real people and real applications. Standing in a hall with a pull up, just won’t cut it.

It would be great to get different engineering companies to open their doors throughout the week, offering live machinery demos, it’s all about first hand experience. What worked so well, is having those who were doing the jobs, talking to the students and also having representatives from Ariel Motors with their cars, global cutting machine tool manufacturer, DMG MORI and many more.   

Now we have the first one under our belt, it’s all about enhancing and keeping momentum. It involved a huge amount of work to put together and we’re hoping to encourage local chambers and global manufacturers to get involved. We will also liaise with the primary, secondary schools and colleges further in advance, so we can build it into their timetables throughout the year.