Our View of the Future
Manufacturing creates jobs and wealth, producing the goods that we all need, from bread to health scanners to wind turbines. It is the bedrock of the Northern Ireland economy, dependent not on the whims of public expenditure but the industry of its people.
Northern Ireland has a place on the global stage: its manufacturing heritage is present in the story of the modern world, from building the Titanic, then the largest object ever to move, to getting the rest of the world moving on Dunlop tyres.
And that contribution continues today. It will continue in the future. Technologies that today are science will tomorrow be taken for ed by customers all over the world.
Manufacturing flourishes when it is valued and supported. This is now accepted across the world and every country is looking at how they can support their manufacturing and ensure its survival.
We need to speak up more about our successes, make sure our contribution is recognised and enthuse the next generation to see the value in making things.
However we need the active partnership of others, notably Government, which shapes the environment we work in, and the Carbon Trust with whom we are developing a fruitful and challenging relationship.
We need to see a framework that encourages innovation, supports enterprise and facilitates growth. We need an environment where seeking to make things happen is ‘wind assisted’ not a series of bureaucratic barriers.
The ‘Manufacturing Counts’ document is in essence a ‘programme for manufacturing’ which we hope will find its way into the ‘Programme for government’. It’s a forward thinking, and we hope a carefully considered document which in years to come may be seen as the start of something very important.
We propose that the Ministers for Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Minister for Finance together make an annual ‘State of Manufacturing’ statement and financial report to the Assembly. These reports could highlight the work and resources which the Executive has devoted to developing manufacturing, and the revenues which are derived as a result. We can then track our progress, and concentrate our efforts on achievable, measurable targets.