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JMI at Sewtec: Expert panellists share manufacturing priorities in one-on-one interviews

Last month, The Institute for Prosperity (JMI) held a panel discussion at Sewtec Automation, Wakefield, in response to the economic issues, such as the cost of living crisis, that are currently dominating the news agenda. The panel was made up of manufacturing experts, business leaders, and academics who discussed the future of UK manufacturing and its role in stimulating economic growth.

The panel comprised John Mills, Sewtec Chairman Mark Cook, automation and robotics expert Mike Wilson, University of Brighton scholar Dr. Yan Wang, and multimedia editor at The Manufacturer Tom St John. The panel was moderated by JMI Chair Caroline Flint.

Before the event, we sat down with each of the panellists in a one-on-one setting and asked them what they think are the manufacturing industry's biggest issues, and how they hope to address them in the discussion.

Video interviews

John Mills: Founder – John Mills Institute for Prosperity

John Mills is a businessman, economist, and author. John shared his concerns about the UK’s shrinking manufacturing industry and has called for the optimisation of the exchange rate.

Mark Cook: Chairman – Sewtec Automation

Mark Cook is the chairman of Sewtec Automation and has 35 years of experience in developing technology and service businesses. He believes there is a lack of talent in the manufacturing sector and that more young people should be encouraged to pursue a career in manufacturing.

Mike Wilson: Chief Automation Officer – Manufacturing Technology Centre

Mike Wilson is one of the foremost authorities on the use of industrial robot systems in the country with 40 years of experience in automation applications in manufacturing. Mike advocates believes that automatic is key to addressing the current labour shortage in UK manufacturing.

Dr. Yan Wang: Principal Lecturer – University of Brighton

Dr. Yan Wang is one of the UK's leading researchers in remanufacturing, and explains why it will play a key role in the future of the UK industry.

Tom St John: Multimedia Editor – The Manufacturer

A journalist for over 8 years, Tom St John is currently the multimedia editor at The Manufacturer and oversees all of its podcast and video content. He was eager to address the sector's sustainability commitments.

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From The John Mills Institute for Prosperity

Updates from the John Mills Institute for Prosperity.


“To increase prosperity, growth and equality by putting a more successful economic future at the heart of British political discourse.”