OLDHAM’S manufacturers are being urged to sign up to an innovative leadership programme which will equip them with the vision and the more skills to get ahead.

The Made Smarter Leadership Programme is a blend of workshops, site visits to SME manufacturers which are already on the journey of adopting digital technology, facilitated-learning sessions, and special project sprints to test new ideas.

After successfully empowering 22 businesses to begin their digital transformation in partnership with Lancaster University, the programme has been rolled out to Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and the University of Liverpool, which will begin delivering the programme on November 12 and 4 respectively.

It gives more SME leaders the opportunity to learn the strategies to support the adoption of hi-tech and digitally-based manufacturing techniques into their own production processes. It also explores organisational culture and how to engage and enthuse employees and other stakeholders about their digital transformation journey.

With social distancing measures likely to stay in place for the foreseeable future, the programme will initially be delivered predominantly online with a view to move to face-to-face workshops when this is safe to implement.

These include seven workshops led by both academics delivering leading edge thinking and business practitioners demonstrating adoption in real business settings.

Through the programme delegates will also embark on 'sprints' where they would test their ideas with employees from the business to build engagement and learning from each other.

Site visits will also be conducted virtually, until it is safe to do in-person.

MMU delegates will learn from Bindatex, a Bolton-based manufacturer of advanced materials which has taken a transformative step after adopting digital technology to capture, analyse and manage production data, PrintCity, a 3D additive and digital manufacturing centre, and the Greater Manchester AI Foundry, a centre for research and development in Artificial Intelligence.

Mandy Parkinson, head of business and public engagement at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “The Made Smarter Leadership Programme will provide vital support to business leaders at such a critical time. Since 2015, Manchester Metropolitan has supported more than 1,000 SMEs in areas including growth, innovation and resilience and we are looking forward to seeing the difference our range of expertise will make to many businesses across the region.

“This innovative programme builds on our expertise in delivering practical programmes aimed at helping business owners to successfully develop their company and grow themselves as modern leaders.”

Donna Edwards, director of the Made Smarter North West adoption pilot, said: “The Made Smarter Leadership Programme has been a success story, giving 22 of the region’s leaders the vital tools and insight to accelerate the adoption of advanced digital technologies within their business.

“The roll out of the programme means more SME manufacturers will have the opportunity to take time out of their business to reflect on the bigger picture and share ideas and experiences alongside their peers in manufacturing, and then return to their own business and develop a digital strategy to create growth and efficiencies.”

Registration for the next Leadership Programme is now open. For more information or to apply for your place visit madesmarter.uk