Hosted by Telford firm Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and organised and co-ordinated by Make UK and Telford & Wrekin Council, the roundtable event gave companies the chance to share challenges and best practice.
Up to 30 local firms attended the session along with representatives from the University of Wolverhampton and Harper Adams University.
RBSL apprentices talked about their career pathway and businesses highlighted the benefits of apprenticeship programmes and how school engagement is key to the future manufacturing workforce.
Make UK, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, also delivered a presentation on how businesses across the UK have successfully increased and retained their workforce during a challenging period.
Businesses up and down the country are supported by Make UK which champions engineering and manufacturing.
Challenges facing local companies raised at the event included transport, staff retention, flexible working and current and future recruitment needs.
Telford & Wrekin Council and Make UK will continue to work collaboratively with the local business community to address these challenges and find solutions.
Nationally, manufacturing makes a GDP contribution of 10 per cent and the Telford and Wrekin borough contributes 17 per cent showing that engineering and advanced manufacturing is buoyant locally.
The industry also makes up a significant part of Telford and Wrekin’s business base with hundreds of sustainable jobs available and well defined career progression routes.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s business support team, Enterprise Telford, supports many local businesses, helping them with their growth and progression.
Support includes skills and recruitment, advice on apprenticeships and other funded training, grants and funding.
Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for visitor economy, employment and skills, said: “We’re proud that Telford is a shining light for manufacturing in the UK and manufacturing employment here is well above the national average.
“As the manufacturing sector continues to grow, it creates new job opportunities and career pathways for people of all ages across the Telford and Wrekin borough.
“This Make UK event was an excellent opportunity for local manufacturing businesses to talk about gaps in their workforce and support each other by sharing best practice and discussing the challenges they each face.
“Our business support team will continue to work with these employers to help them take on and retain new employees so they are well equipped for the future.”
Chris Corkan, regional manager, Make UK, said: "Manufacturing employers across Telford and Wrekin are stepping up to the plate to provide full and fulfilling job opportunities for the local community, reacting to the motivations of the next generation of talent and to the changed nature of work post-pandemic.
“Manufacturing pays higher average salaries than the rest of the UK economy and Telford & Wrekin is a best in class area in that regard.”
Ian Yewer, HR director at RBSL, said: “We were delighted to host the roundtable which generated worthwhile discussions with our manufacturing peers in the West Midlands.
“It’s an exciting time for RBSL – with production starting at our Telford facility later this year on the new Challenger 3 and Boxer vehicles for the British Army.
“The support of Telford & Wrekin Council and Make UK will assist us in offering exciting, long-term job prospects to those in the local area.
“These will include more than 100 manufacturing roles and also opportunities to join our thriving apprenticeship community.”