Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Promoting the region’s manufacturing and engineering excellence: An insight on EEF

As an area steeped in manufacturing history, it seems only right that the Engineering Employers Foundation, or EEF has its roots on Tyneside.

It was formed in 1896 with the purpose of “protecting individual firms and local associations, the preservation of power to manage and the preservation of industrial peace through established procedure.”

Since then the EEF has continued to dedicate itself to helping the manufacturing and engineering industries flourish.

Speaking to Bdaily, Tony Sarginson from EEF explains more: “EEF is dedicated to the future of manufacturing.

“Everything we do is designed to help manufacturing businesses evolve, innovate and compete in a fast-changing world.”

The regional branch works tirelessly to help the sector evolve, innovate and compete on a national and international stage, and their success is shown by the figures.

Estimates show that 18% of the North East economy is based on manufacturing, compared with 12% elsewhere, and the region is the only one in the country with a positive balance of trade.

Now the organisation helps businesses deal with a range of support issues along with its traditional purpose, including environmental issues, HR and legal representation.

Graham Payne, managing director of Darchem engineering has been a member of EEF’s regional council for the past two years, and during this time has developed a working knowledge of the organisation’s activity and relevance in the region.

“EEF membership offers a uniquely broad spectrum of support services, and while I am a member of other organisation, EEF is the only one with such strong links to government,” he explained.

Despite the fact that manufacturing is one of the biggest contributors to UK Plc, many business owners in the sector are still facing serious difficulties.

The state of trade, investment and access to finance are serious problems for many, and while Mr Payne believes that EEF wields some power, there is still much more to be done.

“Legislation changes are having a negative effect on the manufacturing industry, and we now need to see some action,” he continued.

“More pressure needs to be put on government, and we need to see progress in areas where lobbying occurs for the sake of the industry as a whole.”

Education is also high on the agenda at EEF, and is something which Keith Hunter, general manager of training services at Siemens, believes will truly help to kick start the recovery.

“EEF are very active in organising members to come together with a common voice to promote engineering and manufacturing in the region, and are determined to address the perceived skills shortage,” says Keith.

As well as considering the strengths of its own members in attracting people to the North East, EEF has also taken up the cause of apprenticeships in the region’s industries, and gives industry members big and small the chance to have their voice heard.

“As an employer myself, I realise the importance of attracting and retaining talent in the region, and EEF are helping employers to do this.”

EEF now has over 600 members from all over the region, a figure testament to their dedication to the future of manufacturing, and a reflection of its value within North East industry.

And Tony Sarginson summed this up rather neatly: “With our unique combination of business services, government representation and industry intelligence, no other organisation is better placed to provide the skills, knowledge and networks they need to thrive.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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