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    NAA Update: Merry Christmas and an unpredictable New Year

    As 2019 closes to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on the year that has past, on what has been achieved, and of course what the future holds (even though it still seems that it will be a somewhat unpredictable New Year!)…

    For the NAA, and for many of its members, 2019 has been a challenging year, with much uncertainty, but it has also been a learning experience. As we look forward to an automotive industry and political landscape with so much change, we must view this as a time of opportunity.

    Of course, as the dust settles following the General Election yesterday, it is at least known that Boris Johnson will remain as Prime Minister, as the Conservative Party dominated the polls with a thumping majority as Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to suffer its worst defeat since 1935. The exact impact this will have on the automotive industry is not yet known, but there still remains a need for the government to put the sector at the heart of economic and trade policies, in order to safeguard our sector. Regardless of the General Election outcome, the priority for businesses should be to ensure they are as ‘Brexit Ready’ as possible. A fantastic resource for information can be found on the SMMT website, where Brexit Readiness information can be found on topics such as Customs, Immigration, Regulations and Trade.

    Furthermore, the NAA will co-ordinating a series of company visits on behalf of Lancashire County Council, to provide further Brexit support. If you are a Lancashire based-company and wish to benefit from this, please reach out to me directly at

    I’d also like to signpost a fantastic NAA training opportunity that is FREE and available in January. In partnership with FDM Digital Solutions, the NAA is offering a 2-day Additive Manufacturing Training Workshop, where participants will gain practical, hands on, design for manufacture & 3D printing experience, using Autodesk Fusion 360 software and Ultimaker printers.  Participants will design a solution to an automotive manufacturing problem, set up an Ultimaker printer, and finally print a 3D part as a solution to the problem. This training, which is EU funded, is aimed at skilled workers within the automotive industry and there are limited spaces available (6 places!).  The training will take place on the 13th and 14th January 2020 in Blackburn, and participants can sign up here.

    I would also like to offer a warm welcome to the following companies who have recently joined the NAA network; SEMTA, Polaris True North Consultancy, TUV and Ribble Technology. The NAA looks forward to networking with all the new companies at some of our upcoming events:

    • AUTO 4.0 Digital Event (Hartree Centre STFC Laboratory, Daresbury, 14th January) – An opportunity to take a closer look at technologies such as Digital Twinning, IoT, Blockchain and AI (amongst others). We are expecting 50+ guests at this event which promises to be one of our bigger events of the year!
    • NAA Networking Event; Additive Manufacturing (3DGBIRE, Chorley, 12th February) – Save the date, event link to follow! 

    To finish, I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.  Please enjoy the company of your family and friends, and I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.

    Best wishes

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham