Making Scotland’s future - recovery plan for the manufacturing sector

Views are being sought on proposals to secure a strong, sustainable future for the manufacturing sector for Scotland.

The manufacturing recovery plan has been developed by the Scottish Government, its enterprise and skills agencies, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, industry partners, trades unions and academics to support the sector over the next 12 months.

It focusses on four priority areas: collaboration and networks, supply chains and competitiveness, adaptation and transformation, and skills and workforce.

Actions include:

The proposals will be the subject of consultation over the next six weeks and will be finalised in early 2021. 

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: 

Like many parts of the economy, manufacturing has been deeply affected by the pandemic and Brexit uncertainty remains a threat.

We’ve also seen Scotland’s manufacturers demonstrating their flexibility and adaptability in these difficult times. This winter, for example, nearly half of all personal protective equipment used by NHS Scotland will be made here, providing security of supply and supporting jobs. Prior to coronavirus (COVID-19) it was all sourced from outside Scotland so this is an incredible achievement.

This plan sets out a bold agenda, building on strong foundations to take advantage of new opportunities in technology, digital and green innovation. Manufacturing will be critical to our long-term economic recovery and we want to hear views from across this diverse sector.

John Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland Group, said:

The manufacturing sector in Scotland has rarely, if ever, faced such a profound degree of uncertainty and disruption. Like all times of adversity this one comes with significant threats but at the same time huge opportunities.

At the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland we’ve been working throughout the pandemic, with colleagues from the University of Strathclyde, to support the Scottish Government’s response in ensuring critical NHS supply chains remained resilient and helping manufacturers across the country face the issues and take the opportunities that have come their way.

As we move forward towards a new era of manufacturing in Scotland, the recovery plan presents companies with the chance to shape their own future; one that is bigger, stronger, and more sustainable with a wealth of opportunity.

Being at the heart of manufacturing R&D in Scotland, NMIS, in collaboration with partners in academia, public sector and research, is uniquely placed to work with companies to bring these opportunities to life through cutting-edge innovative work.

Linda Hanna, Interim Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:

This plan goes beyond recovery to lead a manufacturing renaissance that is sustainable in every sense.

The adaptability of the industry was clear to see as it rose to the challenges of COVID-19 by changing working practices, producing PPE and maintaining essential supplies, highlighting the sector’s resilience.

What is important is that Scotland has an outward and forward-looking, innovative manufacturing sector. A sector where collaboration and talent are key, where there are future trade, investment and supply chain opportunities, and where manufacturing and the valuable jobs it supports are at the heart of the economy.

Paul Sheerin, CEO of Scottish Engineering, said:

A challenge of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic demands a response that is ambitious, coordinated and uses all the available existing expertise whilst actively seeking new pathways to turn adversity into opportunity. 

By focusing and coordinating Scotland’s excellent support organisations, and working in partnership with industry, the actions of this plan will enable manufacturers to do what they do best: adapt, transform and continuously improve to ensure sustainable recovery of a sector that is critical to Scotland’s economic wellbeing.

Click here to read the manufacturing recovery plan and take part in the consultation.