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How the High Value Manufacturing Catapult is transforming UK manufacturing

Image Credit: MTC (The Manufacturing Technology College)

Katherine Bennett CBE, CEO

Katherine Bennett CBE, CEO | High Value Manufacturing Catapult

3 min read Partner content

CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Katherine Bennett CBE, reflects on the organisation’s progress and sets out how it will support the manufacturing industry to thrive in 2024

Every number tells a story.

The numbers in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s annual review for 2022/23 tell a story of impact, as we support the government and our industrial partners to work towards a greener, low-carbon economy

The report, published this week, shows an increase in the number of companies our centres have worked with, growth in SME engagements and a rise in commercial projects. Combined, they prove that we are helping to build productive, resilient and sustainable supply chains that can seize the opportunities that net zero presents.

Last year was a year of immense growth for us at the Catapult but also for the wider sector as a whole. After a challenging period for the sector and the entire economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturing has rebounded emphatically. We were keen to build on this progress, supporting the development of innovative technologies and new ways of working with sustainability at the heart.

We are continuing to reap the benefits of the investment and groundwork we laid in previous years and seeing tangible examples of our work coming to fruition. HVM Catapult’s work has the potential to be transformative as the UK strives towards net zero; for example, we are working to establish a standardised framework for carbon accounting for UK manufacturing so we can properly monitor our progress in cutting emissions.

We also lead the cross-Catapult Hydrogen Innovation Initiative which is accelerating the development of critical technologies and supply chains for the fast-growing hydrogen economy. Near term government analysis suggests that the UK hydrogen sector could support over 12,000 jobs and unlock up to £11 billion in private investment by 2030. It has the potential to be transformative as the UK strides towards net zero and is instrumental for the government’s Hydrogen Strategy and the Hydrogen Investment Roadmap.

It has been a year of considerable growth for us as an organisation. I am extremely proud of the collaborative and open culture we have fostered at HVM Catapult. We are fortunate to have an incredibly committed, diverse and hard-working team. The wealth of knowledge and experience among our colleagues enables us to address the biggest challenges head on and work to address the most important issues facing the country.

I was delighted to see progress in our regional levelling up developments, including the partnership with Innovation Greater Manchester and Manchester Combined Authority to provide a £1.7bn boost to the region’s manufacturing sector, and our work supporting a new £98 million flagship centre in Northern Ireland.

I am also immensely proud to be able to sit on the Government’s Levelling Up Council to help drive forward this important agenda. Manufacturing is a lynchpin of our economy and its importance to the future economy is exemplified by its inclusion in the Chancellor’s five high potential industries. It is vital that advancements in our sector are shared across the country to allow the UK to experience even growth.

That is why we continue to prioritise hiring and developing the right people at HVM Catapult. We want to help the manufacturing sector reach its vast potential by training people across the country with the skills not just for today, but for the greener, digital future. We are determined to continue to grow as an organisation, support the industry to thrive and make an impact on a national scale.

The High Value Manufacturing Capital annual review for 2022/23 is available here.

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