Ceramic leaders welcome Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan

The British Ceramic Confederation has welcomed the Chancellor’s statement today aimed at helping the economy recover from the impacts of coronavirus and protect jobs.

Dr Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, said, “We await more detail on the Chancellor’s announcements, but they are broadly very welcome and will provide much-needed relief among our members as they look to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

“We appreciate that last week the Chancellor took the time to visit our member Emma Bridgewater to discuss the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. He also received a briefing from us outlining the broader issues with product demand in the rest of the ceramic sector, setting out why a mechanism needed to be in place for supporting job retention in badly affected sectors and their UK supply chains beyond October.  We appreciate in the Job Support Scheme, how our members’ need for flexibility has been addressed, as part-time working to match reduced demand will be likely during waves of the pandemic and recovery.

Dr Cohen added, “The delayed repayments on Bounce Back and CBILS loans and extended payment of Q1 2020 VAT bills will provide a welcome boost to cash flow at this challenging time for many ceramic manufacturers around the country.

“In addition, the extension of the temporary reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% for food and accommodation in the hospitality and tourism sectors will be welcomed by British ceramic cateringware manufacturers, who have seen demand for their high-quality tableware drop dramatically during coronavirus closures.

Dr Cohen added, “The next few months will be critical for our sector. To really help our industry we need government to agree and ratify a trade deal with the EU by the end of the year and be unashamedly supportive of British manufacturing in public procurement.”


For further information please contact: Laura Cohen, Chief Executive, British Ceramic Confederation, Federation House, Station Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2SA.

Tel:  07827 358613

E-mail | www.ceramfed.co.uk

Notes to editors

The British Ceramic Confederation is the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, representing the common and collective interests of all sectors of the industry. Its member companies cover the full spectrum of ceramic manufacturing, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.

Pledge Awards 2020 Programme Launched


We are delighted to share further details about the programme for this year’s Health & Safety Pledge Awards event, which is being held on October 15, from 1:00 – 2:30 pm.

As well as the presentation of individual and company awards, the event will feature a number of special guest speakers, including:

  • Keith Barker, Wienerberger Ltd. (BCC President’s Address)
  • Phil Crosbie & Paul Verrico, Eversheds LLP
  • Ed Corbett & Victoria Whitehouse, Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Tom Oxley, Bamboo Mental Health
  • Natalia Cohen, Adventurer & Official World Record Holder

View the full Pledge Awards 2020 Programme.

Like many businesses, we have had to adapt to the current circumstances and this year’s event is being held online. Registration is per company meaning unlimited numbers of employees can attend, with the cost dependant on company size. A link to join the event will be sent to registrants the day before the event.

Book your company’s tickets here.

For further information email Sonia Mayer.

Dr Laura Cohen appointed as Visiting Professor to Department of Materials at University of Manchester and Henry Royce Institute

Dr Laura Cohen MBE CEng FIMMM, who is Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) has been appointed as a Visiting Professor in Materials Science and Engineering in a role that will span the University of Manchester and the Henry Royce Institute.

The appointment is part of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Visiting Professors (VP) scheme an industry-into-academia initiative that funds professional engineers working with UK universities.

Dr Cohen was appointed Chief Executive of the BCC, the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, in 2009. After a metallurgy and materials science degree and PhD at Cambridge, she worked for 20 years in many technical and regulatory roles in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, prior to joining BCC.

Dr Cohen’s Visiting Professor role will significantly augment existing industrially-relevant learning offered by the University, by giving lectures and interactive workshops, providing coaching sessions, offering feedback on the current curriculum and enhancing connections with industry.  Through one-to one career coaching Laura will help students explore career opportunities inside, and, particularly outside academia.

Dr Laura Cohen said:

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to work more closely with Manchester University and the Henry Royce Institute partners at this critical time, when it is even more important that university courses have strong links with industry. I’m looking forward to helping students understand some of the key challenges facing manufacturing today and sharing my experience with the next generation of industry leaders.”

Keith Barker, President of the British Ceramic Confederation, said:

 “We look forward to supporting Laura’s work as a Visiting Professor alongside her role as Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation. The students will benefit greatly from her experience and insights and the ceramics manufacturing industry will also benefit from her work championing our sector. We wish her every success in her new role.”

Philip Withers FREng FRS, Regius Professor of Materials in the Department of Materials at The University of Manchester and Chief Scientist of the Henry Royce Institute, the Academic Champion who submitted the successful RAEng Visiting Professor application, in partnership with Laura, said:  

“Laura’s appointment as a Visiting Professor in Materials Science and Engineering is great news for The University of Manchester and the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, and for students.  Hosting Laura provides an exceptional opportunity to improve the educational provision for our materials science students. Laura will bring deep expertise around the application of materials science and engineering in industry, particularly in relation to policy and regulation.”

Professor Sarah Cartmell, Professor of Bioengineering at The University of Manchester, Head of the Department of Materials and Royce Champion for Biomedical Materials, who will work closely with Laura during her appointment said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Laura as Visiting Professor. Many of our students represent the business leaders of tomorrow and they will benefit greatly from discussions with Laura on key industrial challenges, as well as opportunities for materials scientists and engineers in areas such as energy efficiency, the net zero carbon challenge and resource efficiency. As a senior, successful woman in manufacturing, Laura will also be an outstanding role model to students, and by integrating her work at Manchester with the Henry Royce Institute, this position will benefit materials science students nationally.”

Dr Cohen’s Professorship will concentrate in the first year on The University of Manchester and will then be extended to other university partners in the Henry Royce Institute (Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College, Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds).

Dr Cohen was awarded an MBE in 2015 in recognition of her services to the ceramics industry. She is also an associate of Newnham College, Cambridge and has chaired a number of cross-industry groups on trade, energy and the transition to net-zero.


For further information contact Judith.holcroft@manchester.ac.uk


About the Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with its Fellows and partners, it is growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. This Visiting Professor position is being supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering under the Visiting Professors – Round 7 (Yr 2021) scheme.

About the British Ceramic Confederation

The British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) is the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, representing the common and collective interests of all sectors of the industry. Its member companies cover the full spectrum of ceramic manufacturing, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.

About Materials Science at Manchester

Material Science at the University of Manchester is Europe’s largest and most diverse university activity devoted to materials. Its BSc course is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) as fully meeting the academic requirements for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) registration and partially for Chartered Engineer (CEng)/Chartered Scientist (CSci) status.  Strong industrial links ensure courses are wide-ranging and relevant to industrial needs.

About the Henry Royce Institute 

Operating with its Hub at The University of Manchester, the Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials research and innovation is a partnership of nine leading institutions – the universities of Cambridge, Imperial College London, Liverpool, Leeds, Oxford, Sheffield, the National Nuclear Laboratory, and UKAEA. Royce aims to support and grow world-recognised excellence in UK materials research, accelerating commercial exploitation and delivering positive economic and societal impact for the UK. Royce is funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research & Innovation.