Why manufacturing is in Rochdale’s DNA


Manufacturing Photo

In the UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of GVA, 44% of total UK exports, 70% of business R&D, and directly employs 2.6 million people.

When it comes to placemaking, manufacturing is a crucial platform of Rochdale’s business sector and it was the subject of Rochdale Development Agency’s sixth monthly roundtable, held at the offices of Trelleborg.

A diverse panel of Rochdale manufacturers and sector experts looked at the importance of the sector to the borough and Greater Manchester.

Robert Lovelace, managing director, Trelleborg Rochdale, said: “Rochdale is clearly a centre of co-operative manufacturing. It’s a great way of generating a high value economy.”

Martin Shepherd, operations director, JA Harrison, said: “Manufacturing is in your blood. I’m very proud when people say ‘what do you do?’ and I say ‘we make things.’ We manufacture from start to finish. It’s in your blood and it’s definitely in this area.”

Reet Dhallu, lead regional membership manager (GM North & South), Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re the largest chamber of commerce in the UK. Manufacturing is important for Great Manchester as a whole because we make things. Without that we can’t really move forward as an economy. It puts us on a global scale in terms of export as well.”

Daniel W Shackleton, director, Salt Separation Services, said: “Rochdale has a historical legacy of manufacturing that was probably born out of the Industrial Revolution. The manufacturing sector is under the radar a bit in Rochdale and we have quite a strong export presence.”

Jane Campbell, business partnership manager at North West Engineering UK, said: “We want to inspire the next generation about the exciting careers in engineering and manufacturing because we know there is a shortfall of 59,000 engineers. We need them to fulfil the roles of the future and bring the UK forward.”

Dan Taylor, managing director, Kerf Developments, said: “Manufacturing is very important. Rochdale has a real history in manufacturing going back a number of years. It’s a good base for manufacturing. There are a lot of historical industrial premises here with the opportunity to build more. There is a skillset of manufacturing people within Rochdale and I think it has a good future for manufacturing.”

Andrew Wilding, managing director of NEMA, said: “Manufacturing is the backbone of Rochdale going back many years. What I do feel is that with the right training and encouragement the people of Rochdale can turn their hand to anything. They’ll produce you anything and they’re the best people in the country.”

Phil Burgess, finance director of Marathon Belting, said: “Manufacturing is Rochdale’s proud heritage. We came to Rochdale from the West Midlands for that skillset. We have a can-do attitude.”

Joe Stockton, director of E4 Structures, said: “We make plastic products out of recycled plastics for the infrastructure industry. Traditionally manufacturing has been important for Rochdale for a long time, well over a century. We’ve got everything from the very basic types of manufacturing right through to the high tech and that’s what people don’t realise. There’s a large high tech manufacturing industry in Rochdale and I think we need to sell it out there. We need to sell Rochdale manufacturing throughout the UK and beyond.”

Phil Cornell, managing director of K P Industries said: “Rochdale has a great base of manufacturing companies, putting the borough’s DNA into work class products such as aeroplanes and the car industry. We should sell Rochdale as much as we can, offering a career path to young people, demonstrating that if you go into manufacturing  you can get a great quality of life out of it that will get them a nice house, a nice car, nice holidays and a good way of life for the future.”

  • Also attending the roundtable were Carol Hopkins, business development manager at Rochdale Development Agency; Chris Maguire and Ross Johnstone,  technical sales manager at KP Industries

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