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2018 for the manufacturing sector has seen a tale of two halves really.
So manufacturing sector came into 2018 riding the wave of growth benefiting from 2017 and, as it's come through 2018, we've seen a slowdown in that growth.
At the same time we had a stable UK economy over the past four or five years and that led to some strong inward investment.
We also had the benefit of an increase in exports as a result of sterling depreciation resulting from the EU referendum.
Looking forward the manufacturing sector has a few challenges to face positioning and transitioning for a UK beyond Brexit is clearly on everybody's agenda.
Secondly the skills issue remains.
It's a timeless challenge for the sector and one that the sector and government an education needs to come together to help support.
So Barclays have recently released a piece of thought leadership entitled 'A New image for Manufacturing' and that report has uncovered that Generation Z, so 16 to 23 year olds, only 6% would consider a career in manufacturing.
And thirdly the productivity puzzle is still out there we've been overtaken by the likes of India and South Korea in terms of our productivity output.
I'm so excited about the opportunities in 2019 for the manufacturing sector particularly around innovation, with the likes of Fourth Industrial Revolution Technology, Automation, Robotics and Data Analytics all there, and able to support manufacturers drive their productivity.
The new dawn of a UK beyond Brexit brings immense trade opportunities and it's great to see the government is supporting the trade opportunities with commitment to driving a percentage of exports versus our GDP growth.
The UK manufacturing sector is an incredibly important sub sector of our economy it generates over 10 percent of GDP and it accounts for around 45 percent of our exports so with the right level of skills the right level of support and the right level of innovation the UK manufacturing sector can go from strength to strength and Barclays are incredibly excited to be part of it.
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