Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN) revealed how it aims to build a stronger and more successful engineering and manufacturing sector in North East England at a special industry event on April 21.

At the Engineers & Manufacturers Assemble event, held at Rainton Arena in Houghton-le-Spring, EMN urged the engineering and manufacturing community to collaborate to take on the strategic and everyday challenges businesses and individuals face.

The free event, which was attended by 124 EMN members and non-members, brought together engineering and manufacturing companies from across the North East, from small scale SMEs to PLCs.

Headquartered in County Durham, EMN is a long-standing cross-sector network which is dedicated to building and strengthening North East England’s engineering and manufacturing community.

An industry panel at the event, which featured David Land, chairman of EMN, Philip Astley, Managing Director of The Expanded Metal Company, Dawn Flynn, Director of B2B Injection Moulding Ltd, Richard Bradley, Managing Director of Dyer Engineering Ltd, Andrew Howe, Operations Director at Turnmill Engineering and John Bignall, founder of Bignall Group, highlighted the importance of collaboration and peer-to-peer support in today’s economic climate.

And in her speech to delegates, Ailsa Anderson, Director of Development of EMN, stated that EMN will focus on helping people working in the engineering and manufacturing space to learn from one another, offer guidance and share experiences of their business journeys, with the aim of “building genuine connections between businesses and individuals, and creating tangible outcomes”.

Acknowledging that running a business can be an isolating and lonely experience, she stated that EMN’s role is to provide a “trusted feedback loop, listening ear and directional support”.

EMN launched its new events programme at Engineers & Manufacturers Assemble, which it has created to help strengthen the network and provide knowledge and support for members.

The programme will feature regular events where people working across engineering and manufacturing businesses can voice their concerns, discuss their problems, access expertise and build relationships with their peers.

EMN will be working alongside the Women’s Engineering Society Tyne Tees Branch to deliver regular networking events for women in engineering and it was also announced that University of Sunderland’s North East Maintenance Forum will now be operated in partnership with EMN.

EMN will also run an HR Forum lead by recruitment specialist and EMN affiliate partner Jackson Hogg; a Marketing Forum lead by B2B marketing specialist and EMN affiliate partner Horizon Works; and a Business Leaders Peer Group, which offers an environment in which business leaders can address and resolve issues and learn new skills.

In addition, the 2023 edition of EMCON, EMN’s flagship event, was officially launched at Engineers & Manufacturers Assemble.

Taking place on September 14, 2023, EMCON will be celebrating its 15th year at its new home of Rainton Arena in Houghton-le-Spring, which provides a larger exhibition space and greater accessibility.

EMCON showcases engineering and manufacturing businesses, and highlights the support, skills and capabilities that are available in North East England.

This year’s EMCON event will include a large-scale exhibition and networking area, a Skills Zone to encourage connections between education providers and students, a Made Smarter Zone backed by Made Smarter Adoption North East, a Healthcare Zone supported by Academic Health Science Network North East and Cumbria and a Meet The Buyer area organised by business support group UMi.

The event is supported by a range of sponsors, including Gold Sponsors Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, B2B Injection Moulding Ltd and Business Durham.

EMN also announced at Engineers and Manufacturers Assemble that a further two businesses – managed IT provider CMKY and UMi – have joined its affiliate partner scheme.

Engineers & Manufacturers Assemble was sponsored by Jackson Hogg and Dyer Engineering, a County Durham-based group of fabrication and machining businesses.

David Land, Chairman of EMN said: “It was thrilling to see so many people join us at this event to discover how EMN can support them – and how we can help them to support each other.

“Through EMN, people working in engineering and manufacturing businesses, across all roles, can access impartial peer to peer advice, spark new relationships, find new opportunities, improve performance and gain more market exposure for their companies.

“Our events programme and the bigger and better EMCON show, along with our ongoing work on behalf of our members, all contributes to creating a stronger engineering and manufacturing community in North East England, and to building a better future for our region.”

Philip Astley, Managing Director of The Expanded Metal Company and an EMN board member, added: “Supply chain issues, rising energy costs and skills shortages are impacting on engineering and manufacturing businesses across our region.

“It’s therefore extremely important that we work together as a community to take on these challenges, through innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing. EMN is playing a crucial role in creating an environment where that can happen.”

Dawn Flynn, Director of B2B Injection Moulding Ltd, an EMN member and EMCON Gold Sponsor, said: “Excellent networking events with like-minded people and the support of EMN for businesses is priceless.

“EMN’s peer-to-peer sessions help businesses realise they are not alone and are having the same issues as all other businesses. We decided to be a Gold Sponsor of EMCON so we can give a little back.”

Commenting on the partnership between the North East Maintenance Forum (NEMF) and EMN, Derek Dixon, Associate Head of Engineering at University of Sunderland, commented: “The partnership between NEMF and EMN brings exciting new opportunities for all members.

“The aim of NEMF is to share approaches to effective maintenance management, using good practice and new technologies. This can now be extended to our EMN colleagues.”

EMN has a membership stretching across the region and is committed to supporting all the people who help organisations to function and succeed.