It is really exciting to hear the Prime Minister talking about her plans for a truly global Britain and an innovative economy. This is a powerful message to all companies who are creating next generation technologies in this country, and to those who are seeking to adopt new technology into their business processes. There is no doubt the UK is an inventive and innovative country and, in the manufacturing sector, technologies such as smart and additive manufacturing are set to have a radical impact in terms of the way in which companies design and manufacture products, as well as in the ways in which they interact with their customers and supply chain partners. All of this, in turn, is leading to commercial opportunities for companies to join forces which have not historically existed.

Also, alongside the opportunities, there will be disruption as companies implement new technologies, change business processes and deal with new issues such as cyber risk. The Government is right to identify matters such as the protection and exploitation of data and intellectual property as focus areas. In addition, whilst skills are in short supply, the pro-active adoption of the new Apprenticeship Programme will help companies up-skill existing staff and talented new joiners in the skills of the future.