SMALL to medium-sized manufacturers in Worcestershire can start taking advantage of an £11.8million business support boost to help them grow and address key skills issues and create new jobs.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions (part of Oxford Innovation), has been extended until September 2021 and will help a further 2,400 companies to tackle barriers to growth, with the potential of creating 2,500 new jobs.

Going forward, support can be used for improvement projects such as environmental and sustainability, leadership and management, marketing, people and skills, productivity and capacity, quality and strategy.

In response to company feedback, a series of manufacturing themed workshops have also been added and will be available from Summer 2019 to help bridge current skills needs within manufacturing businesses and support future skills requirements in line with Industry 4.0.

Martin Coats, operations director of Oxford Innovation said: “In October 2016, we were given the task of setting up a programme capable of delivering over £10.3m of dedicated business support to SME manufacturers and I’m delighted to say that, thanks to the hard work of the staff and the Manufacturing Growth Managers on the ground, we have achieved that.

“Over the course of the last two and a half years we have helped more than 2000 SMEs to identify and overcome barriers to their growth and this has added millions of pounds to the local economy and created in excess of 3000 jobs, safeguarding thousands more in the process.

“Supporting Worcestershire manufacturers is not easy and you need a tailored approach, delivered by experts who understand what it is like working in industry."

The Manufacturing Growth Programme is available to small to medium-sized manufacturers who have an intention to grow, increase competitiveness and improve productivity while increasing turnover, creating new jobs and introducing new products/services and processes.