Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK and author of the Made Smarter Review, has urged industry across the North to commit to embedding technology, information and data into everything they do.
Speaking to an audience of northern industrialists and young engineers at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the man behind the industrial digitalisation review said a new digital Industrial Revolution could see 175,000 new jobs over 10 years, mainly skilled jobs in engineering, software and design.
He said: “Leading the next Industrial Revolution cannot be done from Whitehall; it cannot be done from London. It can only be done in the North.
“This city of Sheffield was world-renowned for high-quality steel production, but fell into decline as the industry collapsed and cheaper alternatives across the world became available. We should all be determined that we do not let this happen again.
“This is our chance to reverse that decline and create the high-skilled jobs for generations to come. Through embracing technology we can lead the world once again – exporting new Northern industries all over the globe.”
“Many of our smaller firms have led the way. Now we want thousands more to come on board. There is nothing to fear but plenty to gain.”
His sentiments were echoed by Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield.
“As the cradle of the first industrial revolution, the north of England sent new products to the world. Now we need the infrastructure, research, innovation and skills which will enable us to lead in the era of Industry 4.0,” he said.
“This means new approaches to bringing together world-class research and teaching with global companies and their supply chains, creating new products and reshoring production. This is an area where the University of Sheffield is leading the way, working with Boeing, McLaren, Siemens and Rolls-Royce to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.”
Siemens, who are a partner at the AMRC, have also demonstrated their commitment to innovation and manufacturing in the North – recently announcing plans for a proposed £200 million state-of-the-art factory in Goole, East Yorkshire, to manufacture and commission the trains of the future.