SGS College continued support of Festomane 2016

3rd March 2016

SGS College is passionate about manufacturing and engineering. That's why we sponsor and help organise Festomane, Stroud's festival of manufacturing and engineering – a celebration of the area's rich heritage and modern-day strengths in manufacturing and engineering. Festomane is an established annual event, now in its fourth year and growing year on year. It is sponsored by a number of local businesses and organisations involved in manufacturing and engineering and this year achieved charitable status.

Festomane 2016 was a resounding success, building on an excellent event last year. The final exhibition was more hands on than previous years, and enabled businesses more opportunities to engage and inspire the next generation. Many of the visitors spent over 3 hours in the centre, testament to how engaging the day was.

As well as the schools engagement elements the festival also featured several local industrial heritage talks, and business networking, with two events focusing on networking and growing your business.

On the Tuesday of Festomane there was a business day with short sharp talks from experts on support for manufacturing, The Manufacturing Advisory Service, commercial banking, apprenticeships, what support is out there, exporting, R & D tax credits, funding for new product development, intellectual property and legal support. This was followed up by a networking opportunity and an excellent buffet lunch. The feedback from the 72 attendees was very positive.

Manufacturing and engineering are critical to the success of the UK economy, contributing 27% of GDP in 2014 and employing almost a fifth of the workforce. The sector is 9% larger than at the start of the recession, with further strong growth forecasted for years to come. But if we are to realise this potential, we need many more skilled people.

To keep pace, the UK needs to recruit 182,000 people with engineering skills each year and increase the current engineering workforce by almost 50%! Nowhere is this more critical than in Stroud district, where manufacturing and engineering businesses employ a quarter of the population. This means that the local economy is heavily dependent upon their success for its prosperity. Yet these employers are struggling to recruit skilled staff. And similarly, many local people are unaware of the immense array of career opportunities open to them.

SGS College is committed to helping this growth, as seen by the developing provision at our new Berkeley site. By raising the profile of the sector, and providing opportunities for learning and development we can make sure that the local area remains a national hub for manufacturing.

Festomane aims to build a strong manufacturing and engineering economy to serve the local community of Stroud's Valleys and Vale. We do this by celebrating our industrial past, present and future.

The Festomane committee are ensuring they capitalise on this year's success by having legacy events throughout the year and by making next year's event even bigger and better. To get involved in this fantastic festival please e-mail: info@Festomane.co.uk

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