A reflection on a year of a pandemic and EU-Exit

Welcome to the latest Composites UK Membership Directory, kindly produced by our lead press partners, Composites in Manufacturing magazine.

The past year has been a tough and busy one for us as we’ve worked hard to provide vital support to our member companies, navigating the pandemic and EU-Exit.

We made sure members were kept up-to-date with information relevant to them throughout the pandemic by laying out government guidelines in easy-to-digest e-bulletins, and provided checklists for members to ensure they could work safely during these times. We offered flexible payment options to members to assist with their cashflow so that they could remain members and benefit from our support during the pandemic.

Dr David Bailey, chief executive officer, Composites UK

We produced guidelines for members around the EU-Exit to prepare them for the steps they needed to put in place to continue to import and export. We are now assisting the Trade Remedies Agency with reviews on imported goods relevant to our sector. The EU-Exit brought legislative changes, which our Material Suppliers Sub-Group continue to review in order to prepare guidance and support for the whole supply chain.

Our focus on health and safety for the industry continued and we were delighted to receive a record number of accident report forms from members that we compile on an annual basis.

Our Construction Sector Group joined the Construction Products Association (CPA), supporting members already in, or looking to move into the construction sector and helping them prepare for Net-Zero. This will give us additional technical and sustainability support as well as improved connection with the construction industry to demonstrate how composites can be used in buildings and infrastructure.

In terms of skills, we began redesigning the Composites Assured Practitioner Scheme (CAP) to help our members prepare for technology changes and identify training needs. We also facilitated the Kickstart Scheme for our industry, a government initiative providing funding to create new jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

We were excited to win funding for the PRoGreSS project - Products from Recycled Glass fibre at Economic and Sustainable Scale – which would have a massive positive impact on the GRP sector. Unfortunately, the lead partner pulled out due to the impact of the pandemic. However, we have found a new lead partner, reconfigured the consortium and resubmitted the proposal in August 2021.

With the pandemic saw natural changes in the way we run events. We transferred our whole programme online and found a way not just to host presentations on a screen, but to also include networking elements where delegates can sit on virtual tables and talk to others as if they were in a room together. This hasn’t stopped us looking ahead to future face-to-face events, including the creation of the International Composites Summit, co-organised with Fluency Marketing, which is a two-day exhibition stemming from a response to members requesting a composite focused show. JEC and the European Composite Industry Association (EuCIA) are supporting this event and will be hosting their Global Meeting of Trade Associations on the first day of the show, bringing international companies to the stage.

A reshuffle of focus at the Department of International Trade has meant we have become the organisers of the UK Pavilion at JEC World 2022. Having been involved with the organisation of the Pavilion for over a decade, and knowing the UK composites industry as we do, we were the natural choice to take this on.

All of the above is in addition to the day-to-day support we provide. As a small team of seven we are dedicated to providing the very best support to our members.

David Bailey, CEO, Composites UK

For more information go to www.compositesuk.co.uk

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