Academy to be used as blueprint for whole of manufacturing

12 December 2006 #SMMT News

‘The Automotive Academy is a blueprint for what we want to see across the whole of manufacturing, with higher skills bringing more efficient business. Skills are key to Britain winning in the global economy.’ That was the message given at the fourth Automotive Academy Annual Lecture on 7 December by Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling.


Speaking to a packed audience of MPs, peers and senior industry executives in the House of Commons, Mr Darling said, ‘The Automotive Academy has been a success story since we set it up in 2003. It has helped companies to adapt to change, to tackle the challenges of global competition and to reduce pollution. The same service will still be on offer from the new Skills Academy. From January, the rest of manufacturing will start to benefit from the success of programmes pioneered in the car industry.’


In his introduction speech, Joe Greenwell, Academy Chairman and Ford Motor Company’s Vice-President responsible for Government Affairs in Europe, said that he was proud of the vision and goals of the Academy and that it had set ‘World-class standards in cost, quality and production’. He also announced its transition into the National Manufacturing Skills Academy (NMSA) over the next few months, saying, ‘I look forward to seeing the NMSA extending this quality of delivery across the manufacturing base’.


One of the key companies that has worked closely with the Academy is Toyota and the audience was treated to a revealing speech from Mr Fujio Cho, Chairman of the Board, Toyota Motor Company. Mr Cho reflected on his 45 years with the organisation. He described his early involvement with the principles of kaizen continuous improvement and emphasised the importance of embracing the values and philosophy behind the training, saying that to be effective it is important to ‘walk the talk’.


Speaking afterwards, Dr Alan Begg, Academy chief executive said, ‘This transition process is the vehicle to take the Automotive Academy’s business model forward, building on our success and extending what we have done to a wider audience.’ The National Manufacturing Skills Academy will officially be launched on 25 January 2007.

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