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Manufacturing Skills Academy launches pandemic recovery package

10 January 2022

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland’s Manufacturing Skills Academy has announced a new scheme that will support manufacturing businesses with the upskilling of their workforces, as well as improving their knowledge of the funding landscape, as they recover and grow following the pandemic.

As part of the campaign, the Manufacturing Skills Academy will help manufacturers take advantage of new market opportunities as Scotland continues its COVID-19 response and recovery. By highlighting the skills required for emerging manufacturing sectors, including roles within green sectors, the team will help employers and employees upskill and diversify while working to futureproof businesses so that jobs exist after the immediate COVID recovery phase. 

The initiative, which is part of the funding awarded to National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) earlier this year from the Scottish Government’s £20 million National Transition Training Fund (NTTF), will also see the wider NMIS Group, which is operated by the University of Strathclyde, and located within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS), encourage Scottish manufacturing businesses to utilise available opportunities for innovation, mainly through the UK and Scottish Government R&D funding schemes, and support manufacturers and associated supply chain partners of all sizes in identifying the best solution for them. 

Stewart McKinlay, Skills Director at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, said: “Arriving at a critical time for Scottish manufacturers, this recovery package will allow the Manufacturing Skills Academy to facilitate meaningful connections with businesses across the country and support them as we emerge from an unprecedented period of crisis. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we do business, but it also has supercharged certain industries, presenting enormous opportunities for Scottish manufacturers. 

“There will most certainly be an element of education and re-skilling required for workforces. Via this campaign we aim to guide people through training to ultimately help career progression. Not only will this enable businesses in the manufacturing community to operate more efficiently in new markets, but it will also help future proof those same businesses by providing the knowledge and skillset required to thrive in these new environments.

“We look forward to helping individuals and companies of all sizes in the manufacturing community access the tools they need to harness the skills of the future and fund innovation to enable a thriving manufacturing industry in Scotland.”

Earlier this year, NMIS announced a STEM graduate training programme funded by the NTTF, aimed at helping those struggling to find work due to the economic impact of the pandemic to secure employment. The pilot offered 30 graduates the opportunity to receive on-the-job training and build in-demand skills relevant to the worlds of digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering over six months. Owing to the success of the initiative, it has now re-opened its online application process and will be offering up to 50 training opportunities to recent University and college graduates in early 2022. 

One company that engaged with the scheme earlier in the year is Renewable Parts. General Manager of refurbishment engineering, Michael Forbes said: “The NTTF funding helped this business during a period of rapid growth to bring in more good people by allowing them experience on the job, at the same time getting a feel for the fit between the business and the graduate. This scheme to some extent de-risked the recruitment process and allowed the business to continue to operate at full capacity, with much less time spent on the on boarding process.

“The graduates were highly motivated, and keen to impress, and the business had the opportunity to fill roles that might for a small business have been seen as areas for longer term growth. We are delighted to say that this programme has resulted in the business being able to offer long term employment to individuals we would never have come across otherwise.”

Participant of the graduate programme, Mina Hanna, believed it was a life-changing experience, he said: “I struggled for five months to find a job after I finished my MSc back in December 2020. After applying for NMIS graduate training, my skills and background were matched with a role at Opportunity Cromarty Firth to lead the development of the PowerHouse as project manager.

“I am extremely grateful for NMIS, the Scottish funding council, and everyone who supported the funding of my role and provided me with the opportunity to work in a job that I love and am so passionate about.”

For more information on the new initiative, and to access support from the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland’s Manufacturing Skills Academy, manufacturers should visit: https://www.nmis.scot/national-transition-training-fund/.


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