A well-known figure from a Cumbrian aerospace and lighting systems specialist has joined the steering board of a £20 million initiative to boost the North West’s manufacturing sector.
Jayne Moorby, marketing manager at Oxley Group, in Ulverston, has joined the board of Made Smarter North West - a Government-backed programme to help the North West’s manufacturing sector through the adoption of more industrial digital technologies.
Made Smarter was officially launched before Christmas in Liverpool and is set to engage with 3,000 SME manufacturers based in Cumbria, Cheshire and Warrington, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Liverpool.
Companies involved in the project will have the chance to access match funded support and advice regarding how new technologies could revolutionise their manufacturing processes and reap the benefits of more efficient production.
Around 600 North West manufacturing SMEs will also qualify for more intensive business support, gaining access to match-funded grants, bespoke consultancy, mentoring and other resources which will help them to accelerate commercial growth.
It is anticipated that by becoming a test-bed for new types of technologies and advanced processes, the region's manufacturing sector could generate a 25 per cent increase in productivity and add £115m to the North West economy.
Mrs Moorby and others on the board will monitor progress of the pilot project and report on what is learned over time and how the information can be used in the proposed national roll-out of the Made Smarter concept.
Mrs Moorby said: "In order to compete on a global stage it is vital that the UK manufacturing industry addresses the productivity challenge and embraces digitalisation within the industrial sector."
"The Made Smarter programme will drive the momentum to make this happen."
"I'm delighted that the North West has been selected for the pilot scheme, this presents a real opportunity for businesses in Cumbria."
"I look forward to being involved in the steering group to ensure we help business and government work together to share best practice and realise potential."
Andrea Thompson has been appointed as chair of the steering board.
Based at BAE Systems in Lancashire, she is BAE's managing director for Europe and International Programmes. This includes responsibility for BAE’s role in the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft programme, the world’s largest defence project.
Prior to joining BAE, she spent several years working in the United States, primarily in the automotive sector, before returning to the UK to work for major names including Leyland Trucks and Rolls-Royce.
In her role as chair of the Made Smarter steering group, she will oversee the successful development and operational delivery of the programme.
She said: "Having spent many years working in global industries like engineering, automotive and aerospace I know how respected and admired the North West of England’s manufacturing tradition is."
"However, much of this is down to the legacy of the first industrial revolution which started in this region. With Made Smarter we now have a real opportunity to kick-start a new era of technology-led manufacturing, driven by innovative and ambitious SMEs, throughout the whole of the North West."
"I am very proud to have been appointed to the role of chair for the steering group, and I am relishing the opportunity to help shape and develop this exciting project which has the potential to transform the region’s industrial economy."
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