Skills & Education Pave the Way Forward According to Leading Economist’s
This week, 6th November 2018, the CEO of the FTA, Jenny Holloway was invited to the EEF Annual Lecture and networking meal. The EEF, the voice of UK manufacturing and engineering and a leading provider of business support, was sponsored by Rakez which is currently recruiting for new business to open in Ras Al Kaimah Economic Zone in UAE.
Jenny was blown away by the honesty and integrity of the guest speaker Zanny Minton Beddoes, the Chief Editor at The Economist (pictured right). She Tweeted live from the lecture @FTALondon however with so much information to absorb Jenny compiled the following notes...
“Zanny confirmed we have hard times ahead. There are many macro variables that are a major concern to the UK and many of which have been generated by the exit from the EU. There are powerful forces that affect the entire global economy such as an aging population, the pressures that puts on healthcare, lower population figures whereby the pressure of caring for an older generation will be borne on the shoulders of a fewer people.
“Zanny discussed the polarisation that is occurring and how angry populations across the world are becoming. Look at the recent events in Germany whereby Merkel has lost power to the far right. Look at the migrant crisis between Honduras and Mexico; over a 1000 Hondurans have fled their country trying to get to the US and there’s Trump trying to stop them at any cost. A licence to kill and 5000 troops are now posted along the boarder – a figure that will grow 15,000.
“Then there is Italy the ticking time bomb of the EU – too big to bail and too big to fail. Zanny intimated that the UK Brexit will be a walk in the park compared to the Italian situation that will unfold in 2019.
“Then there is China, which is very much the central power in the middle of the web with a force-fall growing economy of a GDP worth $12237.70 billion in 2017. This represents 19.74 % of the world economy and it’s now in a tit for tat trade war with America. This is creating tensions throughout the world resulting in delayed investment decisions and just pure uncertainty.
“Tensions are totally exasperated with the early morning ranting of Tweets from Trump too. Does he just Tweet whatever comes into his mind? Has he now got his comeuppance now that Obama has come back onto the campaign trail, resulting in the Democrats taking control of the US House of Representatives in the mid term elections? This is going to restrict Trump – it’s just all so so uncertain.
So what does this mean for us here at the micro level in the UK? While much of Zanny's lecture rang alarm bells Jenny was quick to respond that it's not all doom and gloom for British econonmics and business. She comments:
“Economist’s advise on the economy but its businesses make it happen! We are the ones that spot opportunities and drive through dynamism and innovation. I was absolutely enthralled with what Zanny had to say and not for a moment would I dispute her concerns for decades of disruption in our economy but she is not a business person – the entrepreneurs in the room are the ones that will guide the economy into a new dimension and actually that’s occurring now.
“The regionalisation of a shortened supply base has already occurred and our lead times are 3-4 weeks for newness. If you go into our factory now it’s awash with the colour of neon brights. You can’t do that with near or off-shore production.”
“I did find the lecture totally fascinating and one of the areas that Zanny saw as a highlight was the need for skills and education in the UK. What a result for our Fashion Technology Academy. We are ahead of the curve with our amazing teachers and tutors. Who really knows what is going to occur but my personal view is that we need local manufacturing and we need it now. We need shorter lead times with smaller buys to capitalise on trends and stop landfill. It’s not about the entry margin now it’s about exit margin and retailers need to sell out of garments at full price. This is why the FTA is absolutely so important. We are training a future generation of stitchers, pattern cutters, cutters and garment techs. They are the future and we are proud to be part of this new wave of craftsmanship.”
With many thanks to the EEF for inviting FTA to this excellent lecture and event.