By Claire West

Business Secretary Vince Cable has today (24 July) opened a new exhibition at Science Museum, London to show young people the rewarding career opportunities available in British manufacturing.

The exhibition is the culmination of the Government’s Make it in Great Britain campaign and will feature a mix of displays from 39 businesses of all sizes including iconic names like McLaren, Mars, BAE and Rolls Royce. The campaign was launched last year to change outdated perceptions of manufacturing, including dispelling the myth that the UK ‘doesn’t make anything anymore’.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Generating £137bn each year and employing 2.5 million people, manufacturing is a vital part of the UK’s economy. Perceptions of the industry are outdated and need to change if we are going to attract the talent needed to support manufacturing in the long term. Both Government and industry have a role to play, which is why we launched the Make it in Great Britain campaign and are hosting this exhibition.”

The Business Secretary joined Business Minister Mark Prisk to launch the Make it in Great Britain Exhibition, which is taking place for six weeks during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“I’m delighted to launch this exhibition, as it will showcase some of the exciting great innovations of today. We have a mixture of iconic names, but also small and medium sized businesses like Elfab and Ultra Global that are leaders in their field, and have come together to show the public what modern manufacturing is all about.

“There is a range of rewarding career opportunities available, requiring advanced skills and expertise. I would encourage people to come along to the exhibition and see first hand what manufacturing can offer them.”

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum said:

“The Science Museum and its world leading collections demonstrate some of the greatest engineering achievements of the last 200 years, and the Make it in Great Britain exhibition is no exception, highlighting the exciting places that UK manufacturing could take us in the next few years and beyond.

“Science, technology and engineering have all been used to solve problems throughout history — from light-bulbs and televisions to inventions such as the Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive on show at the museum, and they’ve all gone on to contribute to British manufacturing. We’re hoping that as many people as possible will come and experience some of the most exciting innovations from around the UK this summer at the Science Museum.”

Showcasing alongside the businesses are the finalists of the Make it in Great Britain Challenge — a competition to seek out the next big pre-market products or ideas from across the UK.

These include a new technology which could offer relief to tinnitus sufferers and an eco-friendly alternative to everyday cement that could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent.

As part of the Challenge, all finalists of the Make it…Breakthrough category were put to a public vote ahead of the exhibition for the chance to be crowned the ‘People’s Choice’.

The winner has today been named as Bedflex, which is a device designed by a group of BAE Systems apprentices to assist the recovery of amputees and critical care patients by allowing them to take part in bed-based exercises.

Throughout the exhibition the public will vote on what finalists they want to win across all five categories. The winners from each category will go on display together during the final week of the exhibition. An overall competition winner will then be chosen.

Entry is free to the Make it in Great Britain Exhibition. It will be on display until 09 September 2012.