UKCES has launched a new competition challenging manufacturing firms to maximise the value of innovation
Manufacturing firms, including those in the fenestration sector, have been invited to bid for a share of £1 million to boost UK innovation.
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), in launching the Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing competition, is setting out to challenge businesses to come up with new ways of developing the skills and business practices needed to maximise the value of innovation to the UK economy.
Perhaps surprisingly in recent years, the UK has risen up the Global Innovation Index, moving from fourteenth in 2010 to second place in 2014. However, a government assessment of the UK’s science and innovation system, undertaken for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in 2014, identified planning, recruiting, training, retention, progression and performance management as ‘weak’ parts of the system, with worrying deficiencies in basic skills, STEM skills and management. Businesses’ skills, workplace practices, and management are seen as ‘critical to ensuring the value of innovation is maximised’.
“We need to do more to capitalise on this if we want to reap the economic reward and remain competitive,” argued Paul McKelvie, Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) which is running the competition. “To do this effectively, we need to explore the ‘human factor’ in innovation. This means understanding how to better manage innovations, both in the way processes work and how any innovation is taken to market. It is the development of these skills that we want businesses to focus on when responding to our invitation.”
The UK Futures Programme competition invites employer-led proposals from businesses of all sizes in the manufacturing sector to run initiatives lasting 12 months, that focus specifically on the skills required to manage an innovation process and exploit innovative products or services for commercial value. Proposals must be joint investments with employers investing in cash, in kind or both alongside a maximum government contribution of £150,000 per project.
The competition closes at midday on Wednesday 11 March 2015. For more information, contact Andy Challis, Head of Operations & Development at Proskills, tel: 0788 1013983 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption Paul McKelvie (right), Chair of the Joint Skills Committee at a Skills in Focus event recently in Scotland – “we need to explore the ‘human factor’ in innovation”.