Major digital scheme launched to help West Midlands manufacturing and engineering SMEs

Date posted: June 25, 2021
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A lady types on a laptop in a room filled with various cables and bits of machinery

Made Smarter has launched a £1.9 million digital adoption push to drive growth in West Midlands manufacturing and engineering SMEs and help them boost productivity.

Digital experts will provide advice to businesses on how to switch to advanced and automated technologies as well as working to improve employees’ overall digital skills.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub is leading the one-year Made Smarter scheme with its fellow Growth Hubs in Greater Birmingham and Solihull, the Black Country, Worcestershire Business Central, The Marches, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The West Midlands Growth Hubs are working closely with the West Midlands Combined Authority and their strategic partners WMG, at the University of Warwick, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry to tap into the expertise of their digital manufacturing specialists.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said there are potentially 14,500 SME manufacturers in the West Midlands that could benefit from the National Made Smarter Movement. He said:

All the Growth Hubs in the West Midlands are working together to contact SMEs in our areas who will benefit from this practical help.

Digital technology can appear daunting and with the day-to-day efforts of owners and senior management teams to keep their businesses going during the pandemic, this kind of activity needs to be pushed to the upper end of their priorities.

But we believe it is key to help SMEs in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector to run more efficiently for their long-term future success.

The National Made Smarter Movement aims to entice SMEs that are not often reached through the usual business programmes and services, by transforming the digital tools within their companies, which in addition to upskilling their staff and creating jobs, will benefit the regional economy.

Charlotte Horobin, Make UK Region Director – Midlands & East of England, said:

Our 2020 Innovation Monitor highlighted that 18% of manufacturers in the West Midlands were not adopting industrial digital technologies, which we hope the programme will help address.

Digital take-up will be key to boosting productivity as we come out of the current COVID crisis, creating more highly paid jobs and underpinning the region’s competitiveness.

To register and find out more information, visit the Made Smarter West Midlands website.

For the latest on our region, subscribe to Midlands Matters, the official newsletter of the Midlands Engine.

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