Former engineer calls on government minister to take action on supporting manufacturing

Chris Coopey of Carpenter Box
Chris Coopey of Carpenter Box

A company director has called on business secretary Vince Cable to create a national manufacturing strategy to kick-start the economy.

Chris Coopey, of Carpenter Box accountants, who is a former engineer, has made his plea after expressing concerns over Michael Gove’s decision to strip the engineering diploma of its GCSE equivalency.

As head of national accountancy association MHA, Mr Coopey believed priority should be given to forging a coherent policy, in order to provide the manufacturing sector with a firm platform to build upon.

The letter comes just a week after survey results from MHA revealed 90 per cent of UK manufacturers do not believe the government has a specific manufacturing strategy in place.

Despite this, two-thirds of companies quizzed predicted growth at some level in 2012.

In arguing for a national strategy, Mr Coopey, whose firm covers Chichester and the south coast, expressed fears the move to effectively downgrade engineering diplomas would have a detrimental effect on recruiting the next generation of engineers, at what is a crucial time for the country.

He said: “Michael Gove’s decision to strip the engineering diploma of its value will undoubtedly damage the prospect of attracting pupils towards engineering and manufacturing. The diploma, originally introduced in 2008, used to be the equivalent of 5 GCSEs.

“With Mr Gove’s intervention, it is now equivalent to one. I recently asked Vince Cable whether he had been consulted. He said ‘he was now in conversation with Mr Gove’.”

Although, raising the issue on a national level, he believed a lack of action would stand to affect many young people within the Observer area. He added: “The MHA survey suggests immediate and extensive action is necessary.”