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Celebrating manufacturing success in 2010

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The EEF Future Manufacturing Awards has launched the second year of its search for world-class UK manufacturers.

The awards celebrate excellence in four categories: innovation, enterprise, environmental responsibility and skills development. They reward world class performance and promote the best practice of modern manufacturing.

Chair of Judges Professor Steve Evans, from Cranfield University, says the Future Manufacturing Awards, in partnership with leading business software company Infor, showcase the exciting stories of UK manufacturers’ ingenuity in the face of adversity.

"As the manufacturers’ organisation, EEF knows better than most that this is a sector that is far from dead on its feet. As we all know, UK manufacturers are vibrant, pugnacious and always up for a challenge!"

In the 2009 competition, luxury brand Mulberry bagged an award for its apprentice skills training programme at its Somerset-based factory. The handbag manufacturer was commended for retaining its UK production, and providing jobs for the local community.

Soon after receiving the national Skills award, Mulberry had a factory visit from the Duke of York, keen to meet the apprentices on-site. Prince Andrew, who is the Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, toured the factory to gain a better understanding of Mulberry’s pioneering skills programme.

But the awards are not exclusive to big name international brands. Contract metal sector manufacturers MTL Group were virtually unknown outside the UK three years ago. In that short amount of time, the 2009 national winner of EEF’s Business Growth award used its investments in marketing, machinery and skills to double sales and increase exports by 700 per cent.

MTL’s managing director Henry Shirman said, "EEF understand what makes manufacturing tick and so it is particularly pleasing that our export growth strategy has been recognised by them."

The judges are seeking stories of inspiration and passion. Anybody can write the entries, and there are no prizes for purple prose. The expert judging panels drawn from the industry are impressed by the enthusiasm of manufacturers who have taken a leap and tried something different.

Infor marketing director Emma Rainey said, "Sponsoring the awards, and being part of the local and national judging panels last year gave a fantastic insight into the levels of enthusiasm and innovation that is rife in the British economy, despite the tough times we’ve all faced. I call it typical British defiance that innovation will not be beaten down when times are tough."

EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said, "Manufacturers make a valuable contribution to the UK economy. The EEF Awards programme proves that, even in the toughest economic conditions, UK manufacturers continue to break down barriers, reinvent the rules and reach out for new opportunities. We have a manufacturing industry we can all be proud of and should celebrate it more."

The EEF Future Manufacturing Awards are free to enter and are open to all UK manufacturers from now until July 31. For more information on the awards categories, or to download your entry form, go to http://www.eef.org.uk/awards/ or phone Awards Leader Samantha Beech on 020 7654 1509.

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