The Black Country Skills Factory has secured funding of £105k from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) through their UK Futures Programme - Management and Leadership in Supply Chains and networked organisations. With match funding from employers the total project value is £166k. The project will be delivered over the next fifteen months.
The consortium of employers and employer representative groups from the automotive and aerospace sectors includes Huf UK Ltd, ZF Lemforder Ltd, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, Thomas Dudley Ltd, the EEF Ltd, the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) and the Cast Metals Federation (CMF). The project aims to address the lack of operational management and leadership skills in Black Country manufacturing across England’s largest High Value Manufacturing cluster and in doing so improve the overall productivity of the Black Country offer.
Coordinated by the Black Country Skills Factory, the project will see the development and pilot of a programme of accredited ‘bite-sized’ Leadership and Management modules. The curriculum will be developed by leading Black Country manufacturing companies.
Half of the modules will focus on ‘hard (practical management) skills’, where there is currently no provision, delivered at a ‘best practice’ manufacturing company to promote shared learning. The other 50% will focus on ‘soft (leadership) skills’ for example time management, motivating people in manufacturing etc with individual coaching running alongside these modules. SMEs from the supply chain will be engaged through support from large engineering employer representative organisations.
Paul Linton, Chairman Black Country LEP Employment & Skills Board, said: "We believe that improving supply chain management and leadership is the solution likely to unlock improved performance most rapidly in the automotive and aerospace supply chains in the Black Country. The confirmation of this significant funding through the UK Futures Programme is therefore a huge boost in our on-going work to support the manufacturing industry as it continues to grow and will enable us once again, to demonstrate that products built in the Black Country are sold around the world.”
Sue Kirby, a senior manager at UKCES and Lead for the UK Futures Programme Management and Leadership competition said: "UKCES is pleased to work with the Black Country Consortium to investigate approaches to developing skills in automotive and aerospace supply chains in the Black Country region. The lessons learnt will be shared widely and we hope that more supply chain businesses will take the time to think about, and invest in developing their management and leadership needs; helping them to improve business performance and competitiveness".
UKCES is investing over £875,000 in six pilot projects, including the Black Country Skills Factory project, which will develop new ways of boosting leadership and management skills in UK businesses. The six projects which are designed and led by employers, will work with networks and supply chains in the UK’s manufacturing, construction and legal services sectors over the next 12 months.
The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led project supported by government funding whose aim is to address the skills shortages in the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) sector in the Black Country, the only scheme of this kind across the UK to focus specifically on the HVM sector.