The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has launched its ‘Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing’ competition. It is designed to challenge companies to come up with pioneering business practices that will forge growth in productivity and secure the UK’s position as one of the most innovative countries in the world.
To see this type of initiative is great news for UK businesses. Earlier this year we commented on a report published by CIPD, as part of its mega trends series, which suggested that while productivity within the UK was on the up there was no real significant improvement in the management. The report stated that, if we were to optimise on this economic growth and maintain a level of productivity, organisations needed to adopt a more innovative approach to business processes and management. It urged the Government to raise awareness of the challenges as they had done with technology in the past.
The UK sits high up on the Global Innovation Index; however, there is a general concern as to whether we can maintain this position for failings in other areas of the business.
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 critical to ensuring the value of innovation is maximised.
The introduction of the UKCES competition is therefore great news. The competition is open to all businesses within the manufacturing sector, with several awards available from the £1 million set aside. The maximum fund per project is £150,000. Proposals must be ‘joint investments’ with employers investing in cash, in kind or both alongside the government contribution. But you need to get a move on if you want to qualify for the funding, as the closing date is 11th March 2015.
The aim of the competition is to encourage manufacturers to refocus on the management skills required to grow their businesses. The recipients of the awards will be able to demonstrate how the implementation of employer-led initiatives and processes will impact on their productivity.
Paul McKelvie OBE, a Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), which is running the competition, commented:
It is fantastic that the UK is ranked as a front-runner in terms of innovation, second only globally to Switzerland. However, we need to do more to capitalise on this if we want to reap the economic reward and remain competitive. 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.
Here at Cascade HR, we’ve witnessed many occasions, particularly within the manufacturing sector, where clients have shown commitment to the development of business process, especially those which are employee-led.
Swiss industry giant Sika AG has been a client of ours for quite some time. HR Manager, Sarah Lowe has been an advocate of Cascade’s Software and in her presentation ‘Utilising HR Software to effectively manage organisational change’, Sarah talks about her experiences as a HRM whilst working at Liquid Plastics Ltd during their merger with Sika Ltd. She explains how the technology played an integral role in the transition and helped the organisation and their people to effectively adapt to their new environment. The process of looking at their management structure and communicating HR Policies was made easier with the software. From Sarah’s perspective, the journey doesn’t stop there – employee led innovation is a top priority for this forward thinking manufacturer and using the HR Software to facilitate this is very much part of the vision.
Are you a manufacturer? Could HR Software help to revolutionise your human resource function and be pivotal in the drive for employee-led innovation? if you are an existing client and have a query regarding using HR Software, why not visit our dedicated customer portal, or call us on 0113 255 4115? If you don’t yet have a HR and payroll software system in place but would like to understand more of the benefits, then why not book a free demonstration or email email@example.com to discuss your requirements.
 Extract taken from £1 million available to help UK manufacturing firms develop skills to maximise value of innovation article