How do we bridge the skills gap in UK manufacturing?

How do we bridge the skills gap in UK manufacturing?

Date: Tuesday 18 June
Time: 11 am
Location: Automation UK exhibition at the CBS Arena, Coventry

On stage at Automation UK, participants at this live event discussed the impact that skills shortages are having on business, including their ability to adopt new technologies, robotics and automation. The panel also discussed how automating repetitive and more laborious tasks allows workers to focus on the more skilled tasks that are harder to fill.


Fourth roundtable event covered how to bridge the skills gap

The fourth panel discussion organised by the UK Automation Forum took place on stage during the first day of the Automation UK exhibition in Coventry this June.

The panel of experts included participants from Automate UK, the MTC (Manufacturing Technology Centre), Rockwell Automation and Cranfield University.

It’s a big topic and one that is certainly impacting many businesses across the UK in 2024, so we hope our report on the event will help you combat this issue.

Download here

Our Panellists

Gail Hunt

Facilitator and host
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Gail has been writing about manufacturing technologies across several trade publications for over 30 years. She has worked as a business-to-business journalist with such titles as Food Manufacture, Fine Food Digest, Artisan magazine, The Grocer, British Baker, Builders Merchants Journal and DIY Week. While editor of Packaging News she won several awards and for the last 13 years she has been editor of Machinery Update, the machinery-only journal published by Automate UK. She stepped down from the magazine at the end of 2023 to work on projects for Automate UK including this new UK Automation Forum.

Mike Wilson

Chair UK Automation Forum & Chief Automation Officer, Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)
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Mike has over 40 years of experience in the application of automation to manufacturing across a broad range of industry sectors and is widely recognised as one of the leading authorities on the application of industrial robot systems in the UK. At the MTC, he is leading the drive to increase the adoption of robotics and automation in the UK. He is also a Director of the Manufacturing Technologies Association, Council member and past Chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association and has previously been Chairman of the International Federation of Robotics.

Chris Rooum

Business Development Lead at Manufacturing Technology Centre
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Chris Rooum is Business Development Lead at MTC Training and is dedicated to developing commercial opportunities in the Apprenticeships and Training sector. With a background in strategic analysis, he is focused on creating solutions to address the skills gap in the industry. He works with some of the most exciting and forward-thinking Engineering and Manufacturing organisations in the UK to create and deliver innovative training solutions, ensuring the right skills are in place. This enables stakeholders at all levels to have confidence in successful career development that makes a real positive difference.

Mike Loughran

Director, Intelligent Devices, Software & Control Business – EMEA North Region at Rockwell Automation
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Mike Loughran is committed to advancing digital manufacturing and the Connected Enterprise. With vast experience, he guides companies in automation strategies to boost productivity and sustainability through innovative technology. Mike leverages disruptive technologies to drive productivity gains, shaping a brighter future for manufacturing.

Oliver Selby

Head of Sales at specialist automation company FANUC UK
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With 20 years of experience in factory automation, Oliver brings a wealth of industry and product knowledge of UK manufacturing and engineering to the Forum. He is passionate about strategically transforming the UK’s automation and manufacturing position on the global stage which can be seen through his customer first philosophy and drive to improve manufacturing businesses efficiency and profitability using modern technology.

Prof. Phil Webb

Head of the Centre for Robotics and Assembly at Cranfield University
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Professor Phil Webb is the Head of the Centre for Robotics and Assembly at Cranfield University and holds the Royal Academy of Engineering and Airbus Chair in Industrial Robotics and Assembly. He has over 30 years of experience in research and teaching in advanced industrial robotics and has published widely on the subject. He has served as a member of the Council of the British Automation and Robot Association and as the UK representative to the International Federation for Robotics. He is a member of the SAE Automated Assembly and Fastening Committee and in 2022 he was awarded the SAE Speller Award for services to Automated Fastening and Assembly in the Aerospace Industry. He currently leads a successful research group at Cranfield with a particular focus on large scale human robot interaction and in his role as an Airbus Professor he sits between academia and industry.

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