A new, government-backed business support programme, aims to increase digital technology take up in the North-East’s manufacturing sector.
The innovative programme is specifically aimed at helping manufacturing SMEs in the North-East increase digital technology adoption, innovation and skills and was launched this month.
Made Smarter Adoption North East connects manufacturing businesses to digital tools that can transform the way they work.
The initiative’s goal is to drive growth in UK manufacturing by improving the development and adoption of emerging technologies across the sector.
Colin Bell, business growth director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The pandemic saw an unprecedented pace of digital adoption across many areas of industry, which ultimately helped many businesses survive.
“Made Smarter Adoption North East is about supporting businesses in our manufacturing sector to embrace new technologies that help them become more efficient, more productive and more competitive.
“It connects companies with expert talent that can remove the barriers to digital adoption and ultimately make businesses more successful.
“The adoption of new digital solutions within manufacturing is completely transforming the sector and if businesses don’t adapt they risk being left behind.
“Made Smarter Adoption North East is the opportunity for manufacturing businesses in our region to access the help and support they need to embrace industry 4.0 and help lead economic growth in the North-East.”
Made Smarter Adoption North East provides SMEs with fully-funded advice from specialist technology experts on the adoption of new digital technologies, innovations and skills.
The three-stage process includes an initial one-to-one digital health check, helping businesses identify where improvements can be made.
More intensive workshops look at the solutions available and how the technology works in practice. The final stage sees businesses work with an industrial digital technologies (IDT) specialist to move towards the implementation phase.
Participating businesses will also be given support in identifying possible grant funding to help with the purchase of new technology and equipment.
Additional funding is provided through the programme for student and graduate placements so businesses can create digital interns to help integrate the new technology into the business.
Employees are also invited to take part in digital upskilling and leadership development through Made Smarter Adoption North East’s leadership training programme, which is delivered by North-East universities.
The wider Made Smarter programme was created following an industry-led review of how UK manufacturing industries can prosper through digital tools and innovation.
Made Smarter Adoption North East is open to all manufacturing SMEs in the North East LEP and Tees Valley Combined Authority areas.
Businesses in the North East LEP area (Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland) can sign up to take part in Made Smarter Adoption North East by visiting northeastgrowthhub.co.uk and searching ‘Made Smarter’.