SME Manufacturers in England Receive £11.8m to Aid Growth

Brexit is taking up a lot of governmental resources, but it’s important not to let this obscure other fundamental issues in manufacturing; namely, the current skills gap that is impacting the industry. Considering there were 5.7 million SMEs in the UK at the start of 2018 – which accounts for over 99% of all business – it’s vital their growth is supported.

manufacturing growth and skills

To tackle this skills and growth problem, the Manufacturing Growth Programme, funded by ERDF and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions, has awarded £11.8 million to SME manufacturing across England. This boost is intended to remove barriers to growth, address skills issues and allow the creation of, potentially, 2,500 new jobs.

This funding will also go towards promoting continuous improvements in the business, sustainable practices, leadership and management, increased productivity, and more. Additionally, a set of manufacturing workshops have also been added to this programme, which can contribute to more skilled workers for the industry.

Over 2,000 SMEs have already seen the benefits of the initial funding, which also saw the addition of millions of pounds to the local economy. This £11.8 million extension is expected to produce similar results and add value to manufacturing companies in England.

Because companies also receive a business diagnosis, they have the opportunity to take an in-depth look into their practices as well as the outcomes they’ve been achieving – being aware of this can make all the difference, especially because the diagnosis is tailored to each manufacturer’s needs. With this knowledge, businesses can easily make decisions that will impact them in a positive way.

A more skilled workforce will be more innovative and able to offer better insight into manufacturing processes, which will continue to help businesses grow. This growth is not just vital for the businesses themselves; it’s also key to improve the local and national economy.

Martin Coats, Managing Director of Economic Growth Solutions, said: ‘In October 2016, we had a business support programme to deliver; all staff on the programme have worked incredibly hard to get to where we are today, and we’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support and progress both the programme and the company have made.’

This support is incredibly important for initiatives such as these. It showcases the interest SMEs have in investing in growth and creates a precedent to carrying on adding value to manufacturers across the country. The programme is available for all SME manufacturers who wish to grow, improve their competitiveness in the market, increase productivity and turnover, create new jobs and introduce new products, services and processes. SMEs in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, parts of the East Midlands and the South East, just to mention a few, will be able to benefit from this boost.

Companies that apply for this initiative will receive so much more than money. According to Dean Barnes, regional director of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, ‘our Manufacturing Growth managers are trusted experts that understand the language MDs are talking and, through a new manufacturing diagnostic tool can guide them on making the right decisions, before bringing in specialists on specific issues they are facing or opportunities they’re looking to explore.’

Programmes such as these are invaluable and should be taken advantage of by manufacturers, who will likely see results within a short period of time.

As an investment casting company, Dean Group believe that supporting manufacturers and contributing towards a more skilled workforce are of the utmost importance. Because it’s important to bridge the skills gap in the manufacturing industry, we are always investing in people in order to combat this issue, such as training our shop floor personnel in the intricacies of our processes.

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