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Sector skills insights: Advanced manufacturing

The BIS Growth Review described advanced manufacturing as that part of the manufacturing sector which: • is intensive in the use of capital and knowledge; • requires long term investment decisions to develop processes and buy equipment (that can take more than a year to manufacture); • uses high levels of technology and R&D and intangible investments (training, improvements to business process) to support innovation; • requires a flexible workforce with strong specialist skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and design; • competes in international and domestic markets. In many respects the aim is to encourage all of manufacturing to become advanced manufacturers since it is only becoming this that business will be able to thrive and contribute to the rebalancing of the economy. Advanced Manufacturing represents one of the best opportunities for the UK to rebalance the economy. The sector has the potential to drive up levels of value-added in the economy and make a substantial contribution to export growth. Its global competitiveness is ultimately dependent upon the skills of its workforce. The sector’s potential is evidenced in that it accounted for over half of all UK exports in 2009 and had the fourth highest technology balance of payments of OECD countries. It accounted for 12 per cent of gross value-added (GVA) – at £130bn – and employed approximately 2.6 million people in 2010. Several sub-sectors and major companies have global significance such as the UK aerospace sector with a 25 per cent share of the global aerospace market; its high productivity generates 20 per cent of UK manufacturing sector output from five per cent of its employment. The UK manufacturing sector as a whole contains several world leaders. JCB, for instance, is the world’s third largest manufacturer of construction machines and the UK automotive sector employs approximately 156,000 people directly in vehicle manufacturing – accounting for almost six per cent of all manufacturing employment. And the UK Johnson Matthey company is the world’s largest manufacturer of catalytic converters.