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Manufacturing is a bedrock sector. It is a high-scale, but also high-value activity that requires continuous technology deployment. Manufacturing is a key enabler of defence and marine activity, large export potential and large supply chain contribution.


The sector is dominated by a few large organisations, but there is also a significant number of highly productive SMEs. A considerable number of manufacturers within the city are FDI (Foreign Direct Investors).

FTE jobs
(13.9% of PLY employment)
GVA output of
(16.2% of Plymouth GVA)
Productivity 40%
above city average
Opportunities/Challenges to address
  • Persistent skills shortages  

  • SMEs need assistance to diversify into new markets; UK or overseas

  • Help required to increase supply chain resilience

  • Need to innovate using Industry 4.0 principles

  • Possible redundancies post furlough/government support schemes

Identified courses of action

Analyse realistic new job pipeline and feed into Skills4Plymouth and local talent retention project activity.

Outcome: Support relevant skills delivery including upskilling employees vulnerable to redundancy. Match local people to local jobs.

Understand and promote existing and new export assistance schemes.

Outcome: Grow sales, protect existing jobs and create new jobs. 

Progress possibility of regional resource to map local supply chain. 

Outcome: Ultimately to increase supply chain resilience and local procurement. 

Progress possibility of regional version of Made Smarter support  

Outcome: Heightened digital capability for the medium to longer term

Increase Sector innovation to increase productivity and competitiveness with public sector support

Outcome: Future proof the sector by safeguarding existing jobs and creating new knowledge intensive jobs.

Successes/Results to date
Plymouth city landscape


There has been and continues to be considerable investment happening across the city including, for example:

  • Plessey (doubling job numbers resulting from a new deal with Facebook);

  • Babcock (10 dock development);

  • BD;

  • Barden Corporation 

  • Karsal Manufacturing Ltd. (Karsal have bought out PCH Manufacturing and will be recruiting further staff)