Three leaders from manufacturing firms in Radcliffe are now armed with fresh digital tools after graduating from a North West scheme.

Garry Aspinall from BEP Surface Technologies, and Scott Brooks and Chris Shires, both from AV Metals, completed the Leading Digital Transformation programme.

The programme was designed by Made Smarter, a government-funded industry-led scheme to increase technology adoption among SME manufacturers.

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Delivered through a blend of face-to-face workshops, online webinars, case studies to see technology in action, and a site visit to PrintCity, Manchester Met’s 3D additive and digital manufacturing centre.

It also provides them with a set of practical tools to make the most of opportunities that digital transformation can offer, including funding for new technology and specialist advisers.

A total of 75 digital leaders have been supported over the past four years through the Made Smarter leadership programme and Leading Digital Transformation is now recruiting for its next cohort of businesses.

Manufacturers across the North West are now being encouraged to register their interest for the next intake, starting in early September.

Mr Aspinall, who is the operations director for BEP, which manufactures and refurbishes chill rolls, said: “For the last four years we have worked closely with Made Smarter to explore the skills and technologies needed to achieve our ambition to be number one provider of electroplating and precision grinding in the UK.

“The leadership programme has been an enormous help in cementing the message that digitalisation is vital to improve us and prevent us being left behind.”

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Reflecting on the success of the programme, Donna Edwards, director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, added: “Technology and digital strategy have proved a great benefit to manufacturers over the last few years as they have navigated a multitude of crises.

“They will be even more important to navigate future challenges and opportunities.

“But it’s clear that leadership and digital skills are needed to ensure businesses, especially SMEs, are properly equipped to deal with what lies ahead.

“Our mission is to develop a generation of digital leaders.

“I am delighted to celebrate the graduation of this latest cohort who have seen the value of taking time out of their businesses to share ideas and experiences and return with new ideas and a digital strategy to create sustainable growth.”

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