The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the Northwest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme have confirmed £20 million of new funding for the enhanced Northwest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS Northwest).
The £20 million of funding (£8.5 million ERDF) has been approved to enhance this crucial programme and take it forward over the next four years.
To support the sector’s growth, in 2002, the NWDA played an instrumental role in establishing MAS in the Northwest. Delivered by The Manufacturing Institute (TMI) and offering specialist hands-on support and workshops, the service plays a vital role in helping regional manufacturers to share knowledge, improve productivity and achieve success in an increasing competitive global economy.
Through increased productivity, enhanced supply chain performance and improved innovation, the service has seen major success to date, creating or safeguarding 8,790 jobs, providing training to almost 6,500 adults and achieving cost savings of £739 million for Northwest manufacturers.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said: “The Northwest’s manufacturing sector is the biggest of any English region and remains a major driver for improving GVA, contributing £20.3 billion to the regional economy.”
The funding announcement came as the NWDA launched a new Manufacturing Strategy and Action Plan for the Northwest.
The plan provides a 10-year framework for the development of manufacturing in the Northwest, with a three-year, annually assessed action plan. It sets out the support necessary to help organisations survive the recession and position themselves competitively to seize new opportunities as economic conditions improve.
The strategy supports the generation of a modern manufacturing sector in the region that will be innovative, enterprising, highly skilled, and well led. These aims are captured across six strategic themes and three cross–cutting themes:
Six Strategic Themes:
1: Improving the image of Northwest manufacturing (includes establishing a Manufacturing Forum)
2: Increasing capacity and capability to innovate
3: Improving the interactions of business and education establishments on manufacturing issues
4: Ensuring that places, spaces and infrastructure are fit for purpose for Manufacturing
5: Increasing new enterprises in manufacturing
6: Improving access to actionable information on markets and change (including legislation)
Three Cross-Cutting Themes:
A: Ensuring a highly skilled workforce at all levels
B: Vertical and horizontal coordination between businesses
C: A more responsive public sector
The Strategy also highlights the importance of the Manufacturing sector not only to the Northwest but the UK as a whole. The sectors which sit underneath the manufacturing umbrella in the region, include: The largest Aerospace sector in the UK; second largest Automotive sector in the UK, most significant concentration of Advanced Flexible Materials in Europe; the UK’s largest Food and Drink sector; and Europe’s biggest biomanufacturing region which falls within our important Biomedical sector.
One of the key actions of the Strategy and Action Plan is to ensure continued support for small and medium sized manufacturing businesses. This support is driven by the highly effective MAS Northwest.
Steven Broomhead said: “The new strategy and action plan supports the vision of a modern manufacturing sector in the region that will be innovative, enterprising, highly skilled, and well led. Furthermore our new funding for the enhanced MAS service ensures the excellent Manufacturing Advisory Service continues to support our manufacturing organisations as we progress through this challenging economic period.”