Scotland National Strategy for Economic Transformation: industry leadership groups and sector groups - evidence

This paper provides summary evidence received from Scotland's industry leadership groups and other economic sector groups as part of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation engagement process.

14. Metal/ Machine Manufacturing Sector

Figure 14.1 – Turnover and GVA of the Scottish Metal Manufacturing Sector [25]
Figure 14.2 – Employment of the Scottish Metal Manufacturing Sector[26]

Industry Aspirations to 2030

Making Scotland’s Future progamme includes aims to support a transition to a low carbon manufacturing sector and an increased use of digitisation and data. The related Manufacturing Recovery Plan sets out actions in 2021 to drive forward a sustainable recovery for the sector, as an initial focus for the programme partners:

  • The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) lies at the heart of Making Scotland’s Future - working with business, academia and enterprise and skills agencies to deliver an integrated system of support for manufacturing across Scotland; and,
  • NMIS is also working to transform manufacturing skills, productivity and innovation that is accessible to firms of all sizes, sectors and location.

Industry Opportunities

The following opportunities for the industry have developed through investment:

  • capital investment plans have improved for metal manufacturing and machine shops for businesses of all sizes. Companies are also reporting an increase in training investment;
  • new, good green jobs in this sector will be boosted by the Low Carbon Manufacturing Challenge Fund; and,
  • development of collaboration, networks, supply chains and competitiveness, adaptation and trasformation, and skills as identified by the Manufacturing Recovery Plan will allow other opportunities to arise.

Industry Challenges

Key challenges the industry faces include:

  • Many metal manufacturing and machine shops are facing staffing issues and recent drops in output. There is a lack of skilled, part skilled and manual workers – the industry is increasingly missing the free movement of workers from EU;
  • Availability, cost, and delivery/logistic cost of raw material is a challenge;
  • Machine shops rely heavily on oil and gas and aerospace industries which face an uncertain future with the transition to net zero; and,
  • Transformation of the sector to a low carbon manufacturing sector could potentially result in loss of some jobs.

Ongoing and Planned Activity for Industry

The Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF) and the Making Scotland’s FutureMaking Scotland’s Future programme form the key planned activity for the sector. The 12 projects of the AMCF are now in operation as part of to create jobs, drive growth and boost productivity.

Making Scotland’s FutureMaking Scotland’s Future quickly established a Manufacturing Recovery Plan as a response to the pandemic. The 21 actions within this Plan became the focus of the partnership, which comprised industry, academic and public sector, over the period of 2021. During this time, has:

  • through the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, launched a range of remote support tools and delivered a series of digital events (webinars, conference);
  • through NMIS, achieved £1.98m funding from the National Transition Training Fund to take forward five projects to support the manufacturing workforce;
  • launched a ‘Smart Things Accelerator Centre’ as a 18-month scale-up programme for start up businesses;
  • launched a CivTech Challenge which, if successful, aims to find a solution, through technology, to help manufacturers to decarbonise;
  • been developing a pilot to help SME manufacturers realise the benefits of autonomous technology through collaborative implementation; and,
  • been developing a Network of Networks to support better cross sectoral collaboration.



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