Event to boost competitiveness of manufacturing sector

Manufacturing businesses in Leeds are being urged to attend a local conference designed to help them increase competiveness and survive the current economic conditions. The free Leeds Manufacturing Looking to the Future event at Elland Road, Leeds, on 22 January 2009, follows the news that UK manufacturing output fell to its lowest level in six years.

John Willman, UK business editor of the Financial Times, will lead the speaker line up at the conference organised by Business Link Yorkshire in partnership with Leeds Manufacturing. Sharing the platform will be two local manufacturers - Tony Timmermans of Omega Signs and Robert Johnson of Craftsman Tools who have grown their companies with Business Link help.

Otley-based Craftsman Tools exports around the globe, in particular to the USA and Ireland, and its blue chip clients include Sandvik and Boeing. Business Link put Craftsman Tools in contact with UKTI, HR advisers, financial accountants and the Yorkshire and Humber Manufacturing Advisory Service to help drive up export sales. This year the company boosted its turnover to record levels (6.3m).

Craftsman Tools managing director, Robert Johnson said: Business Link has played a major role in transforming the company from being a marginal business, a few years ago, to a major and well respected player in our industry. We have created new jobs and currently employ 60 people, including five apprentices, and have invested in modern technology and machinery.

Issues covered at the event will include remaining competitive in the current market, rising costs of importing raw materials, raising finance for capital investment and opportunities for export. Representatives from a number of employer and sector organisations including UKTI and the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) will be on hand to offer advice and help to businesses.

Peter Hanson, head of business competitiveness at Business Link, said: The conference is a concerted effort by all partners involved in manufacturing to support a sector that is critical to the Leeds and Yorkshire economies. We want to help them stay healthy to survive the current economic climate and to capitalise on opportunities to grow their businesses as the market improves.

Leeds is the UKs second largest centre for manufacturing outside London, with a manufacturing base of 1,900 firms employing more than 39,000 people. It accounts for 8% of the total employment in the Leeds city region and generates 11% of the citys total 15 billion output. Most are small to medium sized companies and include specialised engineering, print, food and drink manufacture, chemicals and medical technology.

To book a free place on the conference and for further details contact call Business Link on 0845 6 048 048 or go to www.businesslinkyorkshire.co.uk

Business Link recently launched a 1.4m package of support and advice, including free healthchecks, to help companies through the current economic conditions. For more information call Business Link on 0845 6 048 048 or go to www.businesslinkyorkshire.co.uk


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