Made Smarter handed £8m to continue productivity programme

Made Smarter, the programme which has been helping manufacturers in the North West to take advantage of advanced technology for the last two years, has been given a further £8m by the government.

The pilot programme engaged with more than 300 businesses in Lancashire to help them introduce digital tools and technologies to boost productivity and growth, and navigate the impact of Covid-19.

More than 150 manufacturers received support including advice, digital transformation and funded digital technology internships. Businesses have  secured £1.1m matched funding for 57 projects, leveraging £3.9m after private sector investment.

These technology adoption projects are forecast to deliver an additional £56m in gross value added (GVA) for the Lancashire economy over the next three years, create 355 new jobs, and upskill 795 existing roles.

As well as a continuation of the programme in Lancashire, the initiative will now expand into the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands regions.

Donna Edwards, Made Smarter’s North West adoption director, said: "Over the last two years we have worked tirelessly to drive digital technology usage among SME makers across the North West with significant success. 

"The programme has proven the value technology can bring to the manufacturing sector. We have helped hundreds of North West makers start their digital journey by providing them with specialist advice to help them select the right approach, level of investment and tools for their business."

The success of the North West Adoption programme will be celebrated at a free-to-access virtual conference, Made Smarter: The journey to digital manufacturing, on Wednesday, March 10.

Curated by manufacturers for manufacturers, the conference features an impressive line-up of industry heavyweights who will showcase the 'why?', 'what?' and 'how?' of digital manufacturing, including: Juergen Maier, chair of the Digital Catapult and co-chair of the Made Smarter Commission; Stephen Phipson, the chief executive of Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation; Andrea Hough, managing director of ATEC Engineering Solutions; and Glyn Jones, service delivery director at BAE Systems and chair of the Made Smarter Pilot Steering Group.

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