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UK Manufacturing Output, March 2020:  The most recent set of output data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) completes the picture for the 1st quarter of the year;  of course, most of this was before the Covid-19 lockdown occurred towards the end of March but there were already some signs of weakness.  The main headline was that manufacturing output fell by -1.7% compared to the 4th quarter of 2019 and by -6.0% over the level of a year e

Our colleagues at Oxford Economics (OE) have updated their forecasts for the UK economy and for the major industry groups.  This update also includes some analysis of the regional economy although this is very high level and of little direct relevance to MTA members.  The slide pack from this update can be downloaded from the MTA web-site Members Area at and we o

The May reading of the UK Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing showed an improvement from the very low level in April (32.6) but at 40.7 it still indicates a significant contraction in activity in the sector.  Alongside this, the output element of the index continues to fall sharply and while at first glance this is understandable, it highlights a conundrum in the way that the PMI is calculated.

The MTA Business Survey for May is still open and while ther4 has been an encouraging response it is always good to get more, especially in these challenging business conditions.  The on-line form available at and, with thanks to those who have responded already, we hope that as many MTA members as possible will take a couple of minutes to participate.

John Patsavellas of Cranfield University, and a long-time friend of the MTA, and Dr Oke Okorie from Exeter University are working together to gather and distil the “lessons learnt” from the experiences of the manufacturing sector during the pandemic, which included some excellent and altruistic examples of response to the national “call to arms” for ventilators, face-shields and other products and services in need.

The advent of T-Levels has raised many questions from MTA Members, many of whom are invested in traditional apprenticeships, the key topic of conversation has centred particularly on the effective provision of T-Level Industry Placements.

We’re pleased to provide some updates to our previous articles on the Governments Covid-19 Apprenticeships guidance.

The full article is available here:

Apprentices Returning to Educational Settings

BSI has recently released version 1 of their safe working guidelines for UK companies. The guidelines provide a framework for companies looking to create a safe working environment for their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an example the guidelines provide information on the following areas:

At the time, a few weeks ago, when medical shortages were very much in the news there were a number of stories about people and organisations putting 3D Printers to use, particularly in making PPE. It was really encouraging to see the adaptability of the technology and the ingenuity of those using it.

The UK Government this week published regulations introducing a 14 Day Quarantine Period for those entering the UK. The introduction of quarantine was a feature of discussions at the start of the pandemic but the announcement a couple of weeks ago that it was to be introduced on the 8th of June was something of a surprise; industry and other stakeholders were not consulted and we have expressed serious concerns about the plans.