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SME manufacturers in Liverpool City Region prepare for the challenges of a digital future with Leadership Programme

DIGITAL leaders in Liverpool City Region are now among 60 with the vision and the skills to pursue smarter manufacturing through Made Smarter's innovative Leadership Programme. 5 cohorts of Managers and Directors at SME manufacturing companies have now completed the Made Smarter Leadership Programme through the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), the University of Liverpool (UoL) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

The programme encourages current and future leaders to develop a new way of looking at their business and create a clear strategy to enable the adoption of digital technology, including how that can drive the net zero agenda. It uses a blend of workshops delivered by academics and experts in digital and leadership, site visits to SME manufacturers who are already on the journey of adopting digital technology, facilitated learning sessions, and special project 'sprints' to test new ideas. The programme also uses peer to peer coaching to create a trusted network of leaders, many of whom have remained in close contact. Among the trailblazing businesses to embark on the programme are:- Norcott Technologies (Widnes), D T & G Ltd (Bromborough), DT Engineering (Widnes), Flexitallic (Ellesmere Port), Gencoa (Liverpool) and Milexa (Liverpool).

With 60 SME leaders now empowered to transform their businesses, manufacturers across the North West are now being encouraged to register their interest for the next 2 cohort intakes, starting on 7 October 2021 and 10 November 2021, at Lancaster University.

Reflecting on the success of the programme, Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said:- "I'm delighted that the Leadership Programme has helped create 60 new digital leaders by giving them time out of their business to reflect on the bigger picture and share ideas and experiences alongside their peers in manufacturing, and then return to their own business and develop a digital strategy to create growth and efficiencies. They are among hundreds of manufacturers in the region grasping the opportunities offered by Made Smarter which include expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help take that 1st step to transform a business, funded digital technology internships, and support with technology adoption projects. I would encourage SME manufacturers to make contact with Made Smarter to find out how we can help with leadership development, skills, and how to adopt technology the right way."

The programme, which takes place over 8 months, includes:- 7 workshops led by both academics delivering leading edge thinking and business practitioners demonstrating adoption in real business settings. Delegates will also embark on:- 'sprints' where they will test their ideas with other business leaders to build engagement and learn from each other.

Andrea Williams, Operations Director at Norcott Technologies, an electronics manufacturer, based in Widnes, described the sprint sessions as her 'lightbulb moment.' Andrea told us that:- "Theory is valuable and arms you with ideas, concepts and tools you can use. Each element of the programme was an important piece in the jigsaw, and every session I returned to work energised with new ideas, purpose and strategy. But hearing how it had been successfully applied to another business and seeing the proof was the breakthrough moment. That was when I saw the full picture. Everything then fell into place. While much of my focus is navigating the impact of Covid, the programme has given me confidence that I am moving in the right direction."

Virtual site visits to SME manufacturers already driving digital in their companies included Runcorn based Hosokawa Micron Ltd, a manufacturer and supplier of powder processing systems and equipment which has transformed its production performance through the application of digital technologies, and Veka Plc, a Burnley based manufacturer of PVCu window systems.

Professor Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, said:- "When we co-created the Leadership Programme with Made Smarter, our hope was to create a space for leaders to build their confidence, capacity and capability, to identify, test and adopt new technologies. It is clear from the feedback from so many of the leaders from the 5 cohorts who have now embarked on this programme that they have reaped great benefit from taking vital time away from the business to develop a strategy to adopt hi-tech and digitally based manufacturing techniques into their own production processes while bringing employees and other stakeholders along on their digital transformation journey."

Registration for the next Leadership Programme is now open. For more information or to apply for your place visit:- MadeSmarter.UK.

A-level Celebrations at Hugh Baird College

STUDENTS and staff at Hugh Baird College's South Sefton Campus are celebrating yet another of impressive A-level and BTEC results. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, they were not able to sit exams this summer and today they found out what grades they had been awarded in each of their A-level and BTEC subjects. After months of patiently waiting, students based at the College's 6th Form Centre in Litherland are now celebrating having completed their time at the College and are looking forward to their next steps, be that University, apprenticeship or employment. The College's A Level pass rate is 99.7%, with 54.7% of students achieving A* to B grades and 79.7% of students achieving A* to C grades. There was a 100% pass rate in 22 of the 24 A Level subjects offered at the College, with a 100% pass rate at BTEC.

Joe Poole, Assistant Principal at Hugh Baird College, said:- "Young people are sometimes labelled as having a lack of resilience, but this is definitely not the case with this group of students. What they have achieved over the last two years is remarkable and I am so proud of them. They have dealt with multiple lockdowns, remote learning, and a huge amount of disruption to their 6th Form experience. Yet here they are collecting their incredible results today. It's so nice to see so many happy and smiling faces, they really do deserve the grades they have achieved."

Due to the excellent results achieved, many students will now be progressing onto study higher education at some of the most prestigious Universities including University of Liverpool and Edge Hill University. Alternatively, some students are progressing onto degree level apprenticeships or full time employment.

Mia Hankinson, A-level Biology, Chemistry and Maths student said:- "I still can't believe my results, it doesn't feel real! Today I achieved A*A*A* meaning that I will be studying for a Medicine degree at the University of Liverpool. I will miss the everyone at the South Sefton Campus and the lifelong friends I have made. The teachers do genuinely care about you and they have helped me to grow as a person. I really appreciate all of their support over the last 2 years and I look forward to what the future brings."

Callum Bliss, A-level English Literature, Business and Sociology student said:-"The last few years have been difficult for many reasons, in particular the loss of my brother. My brother also came to the South Sefton Campus and he inspired me to work hard and achieve the grades I needed to succeed. Today I gained A*A*A. I would like to thank all the staff at the 6th Form Centre for their support, they have really pushed me to achieve these grades. I am aiming to go to Edge Hill University in September to study Business Management."

Emma Hollis, A-level Psychology, Sociology and Criminology student said:- "I really enjoyed my time at South Sefton Campus, it really is a great place to learn. The tutors are all so helpful and friendly. I am really pleased with the results I have achieved today, A*A*A*. I am now looking forward studying a degree in Sociology to the University of Liverpool. I can't wait to start the next chapter of my life."

For more information on A-level courses, at Hugh Baird College, please visit:- HughBaird.AC.UK or to apply to join for September please visit:- HughBaird.AC.UK or alternatively call:- 01513534444.

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