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University of Strathclyde Set to Boost SME Manufacturing Firms in Scotland

David Paul


University of Strathclyde

The university will be involved in a series of projects across the country designed to support the development of manufacturing.

The University of Strathclyde has announced its involvement in six of the Scottish Government’s Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund projects.

Through the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), the University will lead on two projects and four others will be developed with support from colleagues from across the University

The Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in May of this year and will see £15.8 million invested in the development of free services across Scotland to help small SMEs to develop their manufacturing capabilities and transform skills, productivity and innovation in Scotland’s manufacturing and engineering community.

The two projects being led by the NMIS team at the University focus on upskilling the workforces of SME manufacturers across the country.

Speaking about the projects, Stephen Fitzpatrick, lead for machining and additive manufacturing at NMIS, said: “We aim to give the owners and directors of small manufacturing businesses in Scotland the confidence to invest in new additive manufacturing processes and technologies that will ultimately improve their business.

“This could be through improving the quality of output, increasing productivity, opening up new revenue streams or reducing waste.”

NMIS, through its Manufacturing Skills Academy, alongside colleagues in Strathclyde, is also leading on a project to establish an online platform for the delivery of digital manufacturing and leadership courses for the manufacturing community.

Companies and their employees will be supported through a portfolio of content libraries and learning action plans that will be designed in collaboration with individual businesses.


Project lead, Jose Hernandez, said: “Our ambition, through the online learning project, is to upskill the manufacturing workforce across Scotland by both using and building upon the expertise and skills that currently exist.

“This will lead to companies being more open to investing in and consequently benefiting from digital manufacturing technologies.”

NMIS and teams at Strathclyde are involved in three other projects alongside North Lanarkshire Council, New College Lanarkshire and South Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire College.

Interim CEO of NMIS, Sarah Jardine, commented: “The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland is all about working collaboratively with industry, academia and the public sector to develop Scotland’s manufacturing businesses and the sector’s talented workforce.

“The Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund projects are a great example of that in action at a local level across the country.

“More than ever, it is crucial that businesses of all sizes, especially smaller companies that so often struggle to compete, are given the support they need to flourish – that is what the NMIS team is aiming to do through this cluster of projects.”

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, said: “The Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund is a key part of our efforts to create a successful, vibrant and diverse manufacturing sector that can continue to prosper despite the challenges of COVID-19.

“The expertise of the University of Strathclyde and NMIS will be crucial to help ensure the success of these six projects in supporting SMEs build their capabilities. I look forward to seeing the results of their work.”

Join a webinar on 5 August 2020 to find out more about the manufacturing project.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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