Engineering Success: NAAME and Tech Corridor launch new scheme to boost manufacturing

12th May 2020

Advanced engineering and manufacturing businesses underpin much of the work in the Tech Corridor

A new programme to ensure a bright future for Norfolk and Suffolk’s manufacturing and engineering cluster is getting underway thanks to a £180,000 grant.

Engineering Success is being launched by the New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (NAAME) group and the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor following the award of the grant from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Innovative Projects Fund, which provides support for initiatives that aid economic growth in the region.

The programme will map and accelerate the development of the engineering and manufacturing cluster across Norfolk and Suffolk. Part of this work will involve setting up an online talent-sharing platform, which will enable employees at companies where work patterns are seasonal to move to another business during quieter periods, thus ensuring all-year-round employment for staff and broadening the talent pool available to firms.

Supporting ambitious engineering firms

Jamie Thums

NAAME Chair Jamie Thums said: “Our vision for NAAME is to support ambitious engineering and manufacturing businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk to thrive by bringing them together, helping them share knowledge, tackle challenges, and address the opportunities of tomorrow. Engineering Success will be key to this work.

“The idea for a talent-sharing platform was conceived by NAAME business partners, and we are delighted to secure this funding to make it a reality.

“The platform is one of several innovative initiatives conceived by NAAME partners.

“Specifically, it will seek to retain skilled labour across the region and attract new talent. Staff rotating between firms will be better placed to share best practices and to fuel continuous improvement.”

Engineering 'key to Tech Corridor growth'

The Tech Corridor partnered with NAAME to help secure the funding, and will assist with the delivery of the programme.

Linn Clabburn, programme director of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, said: “Engineering and manufacturing companies are key to the growth of the Tech Corridor’s knowledge economy, bringing to life the ground-breaking ideas developed in our world-leading businesses and research institutions.

“Active clusters of businesses are shown to generate positive economic impacts and spill-over effects to the wider economy, so understanding and developing our manufacturing and engineering cluster will be key to the future success of our companies.

The region is already a fantastic place to live and work, and the addition of this talent-sharing platform will make it even more attractive to the world’s top tech talent. We look forward to working with NAAME to deliver the scheme.

“The current situation with the COVID-19 outbreak has emphasised the need for a strong, forward-thinking manufacturing sector ready to meet the needs of UK Plc. We would encourage businesses to support NAAME’s work and help ensure our region emerges from this crisis with a robust, thriving economy.”

LEP backing for 'priority sector'

East Anglia is already home to a diverse group of engineering and manufacturing companies including Mirus Aircraft Seating

The project has been supported by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, through the Innovative Projects Fund. For more details on the fund visit www.newanglia.co.uk/innovative-projects-fund/.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “Manufacturing and engineering is a priority sector in our Economic Strategy and this project aims to grow and connect the manufacturing and engineering industry and clusters in the region through the existing NAAME network.

“NAAME members experience a surplus workforce during certain times of the year and a significant number of other businesses often struggle to find the suitably skilled staff they need. With new tax regulation for contractors now in force, firms need to look at alternative solutions to address temporary workforce requirements, and the talent sharing platform would allow the surplus staff from one organisation to be employed by another for a short, defined period of time.”

How to get involved

For more information on the Engineering Success programme: download the project overview here.

For more information on the talent sharing platform: download the platform overview, here.

NAAME is looking for engineering and manufacturing companies to be a part of Engineering Success and help it gather intelligence through a series of interviews, workshops and focus group. If you would like to find out more about getting involved, or get further information on the talent sharing platform, email James Williamson on jwilliamson@hethelinnovation.com.

Find out more about NAAME at www.naame.net.