By Daniel Hunter

Manufacturing has a great future in the UK despite the surging economies of China and India, according to the man who steered a Midlands engineering company into an award-winning exporting success.

“There have been a lot of people who have pushed manufacturing to one side thinking it was dead, with the surge of China and India,” said John Nollett, Managing Director of Pailton Engineering in Coventry.

“But we have a fantastic manufacturing base here in the UK and some of the best engineering talent in the world. We believe manufacturing has a bright future here in the UK — despite what sceptics say.”

Mr Nollett should know; his company is a global leader in the design and manufacture of steering systems and is winning contracts from all around the world from companies attracted by its expertise, flexibility and speed.

“Manufacturing is so important: you have got to produce goods. If you are producing goods and exporting goods it is great for the GDP, job creation and wealth creation," Mr Nollett said.

“If you can take people off the dole queues and put them back into a job, you reduce the burden on the government and create wealth and contribute taxes, it is an upward spiral and that is what we have got to focus on.”

His company’s rapid growth and success has seen it being named as Company of the Year in the Birmingham Post Awards 2011, Medium to Large Business Award in the Coventry Telegraph Awards 2012 and the Manufacturing & Engineering Award in the Insider International Awards 2012.

Recently he was part of a 30-strong delegation to Westminster to see Business Secretary Vince Cable — who is also Secretary of State for UK Export Finance — to lobby for more support for manufacturing businesses.

Mr Cable agreed afterwards in an interview with BBC local radio that there was “real growth in the manufacturing industry even when the rest of the economy was struggling” and that the UK had “some superb companies with world class technology.”

Mr Nollett said: “Manufacturing has been a “forgotten” sector for a long time — and that needs to change.”