With WorldSkills UK’s research identifying a skills crisis looming for UK manufacturing, we convened education, industry and government to discuss how the sector can be fully powered as an engine for growth, levelling up, and progress toward net zero.


  • Explored the importance of world-class skills to the UK’s international competitiveness in advanced manufacturing
  • Discussed the challenges and opportunities for engaging young people in manufacturing careers
  • Gained insights on manufacturing firms’ demand for skills and how providers are responding
  • Heard from government bodies on current and planned measures to support UK manufacturing
  • Discuss how to strengthen collaboration in order to empower young people of all backgrounds to gain high-value jobs.

Presentation slides can be viewed here.

Meet the speakers:

Naomi Clayton

Deputy Director, Learning and Work Institute

Naomi Clayton is deputy director for research and development. Naomi has more than 14 years’ experience in policy and research with specialisms in employment, skills and labour market disadvantage issues. Prior to joining L&W, Naomi was deputy director at the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, and policy and research manager at Centre for Cities where she was responsible for developing and overseeing programmes to support effective policy and practice. She has worked with partners across the UK to support them to use of evidence and demonstrate impact through the implementation of skills strategies, youth employment support and in-work progression pilots, and the development of local industrial strategies.

Caroline Daly

Head of Engineering and Manufacturing, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE)

Caroline joined the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in May 2017, working firstly as an Approvals Manager and then as Joint Head of Approvals, overseeing the quality and approval of apprenticeships across several routes. Since 2021 she has led on all aspects of the Engineering and Manufacturing route, including development and revision of apprenticeships and other technical education products, stakeholder engagement and management of the route panel.

Prior to joining IfATE, Caroline spent 5 years at was then the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, working on a range of labour market policy areas including employment agencies, agency workers and industrial relations. Before that she worked in a number of HR and Equality and Diversity roles in several government departments including Cabinet Office and what was then the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Dr Jaqueline Hall

Head of Apprenticeships and Skills, BAE Systems Plc

Dr Jacqueline Hall is Head of Apprenticeships and Skills at BAE Systems Plc, who place apprenticeships at the heart of a dynamic defence and digital business. BAE Systems currently supports more than 3000 apprenticeships across Air, Maritime, Land and Digital sectors across 60 different standards. Our apprenticeship recruitment has increased 500% in the last five years with achievement rates at c95%, supporting an Ofsted Outstanding grade. We have recruited 1073 apprentices in September 2022, of which 30% were women and continue to raise aspirations through our diversity targets. We are currently recruiting circa 1400 for starts in September 2023 to meet demand within the business.

Jacqueline has more than 30 years national and international experience within the education and skills landscape in particular for apprenticeships, creating employer led standards across industries critical to national infrastructure and leading the creation of an end-point assessment organisation. She has extensive international experience, having set up a successful education business for a UK plc, focussed around school inspection and educational software.

She has previously worked as an associate inspector for Ofsted and led a team building and maintaining qualifications across the devolved nations, including T levels for the engineering sector. She also set up an end-point assessment organisation for apprenticeships, which in 2016 enjoyed the first achievements across all sectors in England.

Emma Roberts

Director of External Affairs, WorldSkills UK

Emma leads on championing future skills needs in the UK, ensuring that WorldSkills UK is actively engaged in the discussions, and providing unique insights into how the organisation and sector can help meet these needs. She is also responsible for using diagnostic research and insights along with impactful strategic partnerships to increase the profile of our work and drive change in our programmes to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Sophie Hall

Lady smiling at camera head on

Research Manager at Learning and Work Institute

Sophie is a mixed methods researcher with a background in education, human rights and public sector research. Since joining L&W, Sophie has led and worked on a range of research and evaluation projects, with a particular focus on young people’s programmes, technical education, and apprenticeships.

Michelle Bibby

Director of Pedagogy and Insight at The City of Liverpool College

Michelle is Director of Pedagogy and Insight at The City of Liverpool College, where she leads on strengthening student experience through research informed pedagogy and experiential insights. She has worked at the College for 10 years, formally as Head of Sixth Form, and is passionate about supporting all learners to overcome any barriers and succeed in sustained and aspirational employment opportunities.

Manufacturing Excellence

Read the Manufacturing Excellence report, commissioned by WorldSkills UK, in partnership with BAE Systems and produced by the Learning and Work Institute 

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