£1.5m funding programme to plug manufacturers into digital revolution

Businesses across Yorkshire and Humber are set to benefit from £1.5m worth of funding towards industrial digitalisation, from the Made Smarter programme.

The programme is designed to improve digital adoption amongst SMEs in the region and includes intensive one-to-one advice and support delivered through Growth Hubs.

Through the programme, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority expects to be able to fund and support around 500 Yorkshire and Humber manufacturers, plus providing digital road mapping sessions and further intensive support to several other businesses.

It includes giving them access to expert advice and funding to invest in technology. The programme also aims to create 20 digital internships and 50 places on leadership development programmes.

Funding for Made Smarter has been secured by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Made Smarter is a national movement to drive growth amongst UK makers and advance the UK economy.

Backed by world-renowned businesses and the UK Government, it is intended to improve the development and adoption of emerging technologies.

South Yorkshire Mayor, Dan Jarvis, said: “The Made Smarter programme will help regional manufacturers to embrace digital adoption, with a view to increasing efficiency and productivity as part of gaining a competitive advantage, growing and enhancing their long-term future.

“The programme is designed to support SMEs to use digital processes across all their methods of manufacture, providing more efficiency and better management information to enable them to continually improve and fine-tune their processes.

“There will be digital experts who will assess each businesses requirements and make sure they are provided with the kind of specialist support they need.”

Made Smarter was created following an industry-led review of how UK manufacturing industries can prosper through digital tools and innovation.

This independent review stated that over a 10-year period, industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn; boost productivity by up to 30%; and create a net gain of 175,000 jobs whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5%.

James Muir, chairman of the South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Digitalisation isn’t about purchasing multi-million-pound software systems it’s about integrating digital tools into existing design and manufacturing processes and equipment and within supply chains to make a much quicker, more effective and seamless system.

“It will involve introducing digital systems to SMEs to enable them to adopt new technologies, whether that be for process control automation, robotics augmented or virtual reality tools.

“We will then help SMEs to develop an action plan for adopting digital technology in their own business, which could involve participating in a leadership training programme, being offered a student placement, or receiving a match-funded grant.

“Digitalisation is essential to help SMEs in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector to become more efficient and productive to enable them to compete in the long term on a global basis.”

The Made Smarter delivery partners in South Yorkshire are Rotherham & North Notts College and Brooke Consulting.

Any manufacturing business in Yorkshire and the Humber is invited to apply for Made Smarter funding by visiting: https://www.madesmarter.uk/adoption/in-my-region/yorkshire-the-humber/

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