The wait to find out which of Britain's brightest manufacturers and apprentices will be handed an industry 'gong' is finally over. 35 companies and 12 apprentices – all regional winners in the EEF/Aldermore Future Manufacturing Awards - gathered at a prestigious awards ceremony in London last week to find out who would be walking away with a national title.
The annual awards are designed to showcase the depth of talent and achievement in the UK's thriving manufacturing sector. At the ceremony, this year's finalists drawn from innovative manufacturers and ambitious apprentices from across the UK were congratulated for their inspiring work in the sector and their local communities.
The winners were finally revealed after impressing a panel of judges drawn from business leaders, industry experts and academics. The Winner of Winners title – awarded to the most outstanding manufacturer of all the national winners – was presented to Naylor Drainage, a Barnsley-based manufacturer of clay and plastic drainage pipes.
The company won the award for transforming itself from a traditional 19th century manufacturer into a truly 21st century globally orientated enterprise, providing world class, highly-engineered technical drainage products and solutions. In the past four years the company has restructured itself to be totally focused on the customer and global growth.
The much-coveted Manufacturing Champion title – sponsored by Aldermore and given to an individual deemed to have made a significant contribution to UK manufacturing - was this year awarded to Roger Evans MBE, Managing Director of Schaeffler (UK) Ltd, a manufacturer of precision bearings and engine components.
The judges were won over by Roger's vision, dedication and determination. In addition to his leading role at Schaeffler UK, he is also Director of Industry Wales, Director of the Welsh Automotive Forum and Chairman of the Welsh Manufacturing Forum.
Mike Turner CBE, chairman of GKN and Babcock International Group, was named EEF's Industrialist of the Year. As Chairman of two of the country's largest industrial and global players he has been at the forefront of the revival in the UK's manufacturing sector.