The Government has pledged to extend the Made Smarter Adoption Programme to all nine English regions in the 2025-26 period, followed by collaborations with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2026-27.
This commitment from HM Treasury, announced on Friday, 17 November, will enable hundreds of thousands more SME UK manufacturers to benefit from technology guidance, leadership and skills training, digital internships, and funding for technology projects.
Accompanied by plans for £4.5 billion in funding for British manufacturing, this initiative is expected to enhance productivity, growth, and decarbonisation efforts for SME manufacturers throughout the country.
Initiated in the North West in 2019, Made Smarter has interacted with 2,500 manufacturers and funded 334 technology projects, anticipated to create 1,550 jobs, upskill 2,772 existing roles, and increase North West GVA by £242m.
Following its success, Made Smarter adoption programmes have been established in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands, East Midlands, and West of England.
Coinciding with this announcement is the release of a new report by Made Smarter, ‘Delivering Impact: How Made Smarter Inspires Digital Transformation.’ The report examines the impact of the adoption model and suggests enhancements.
Brian Holliday, Co-Chair of the Made Smarter Commission and MD of Siemens Digital Industries, commented: “The Treasury’s announcement signifies a significant investment boost for our manufacturers, encouraging investment in innovation, productivity, and sustainability. This is particularly beneficial for small and medium firms, addressing challenges in productivity and investment.
“The advantages of digitalisation are now evident, also serving as a catalyst for industrial decarbonisation. The combination of bolstered Made Smarter, targeted regulatory reform, sector support, and our leading Catapults and Universities positions the UK as a premier location for sustainable design, manufacturing, and exporting goods.”
Donna Edwards, Director of Made Smarter’s North West adoption programme, stated: “We are thrilled by the Government’s recognition of the Made Smarter adoption programme’s impact on SME digitalisation. Over the past four years, we have dedicatedly supported North West manufacturers in beginning their digital journey, offering specialised advice for their specific needs. The programme has demonstrated the substantial benefits technology and digital skills can bring to the manufacturing sector.
“While awaiting more details on the funding package, the commitment to a national rollout is a significant endorsement of SMEs’ role in UK manufacturing. It will certainly accelerate the sector’s digital transformation.”
Paul McLaren, Chair of Made Smarter North West’s Steering Group and Production Director for BAE Systems, remarked: “Made Smarter has shown that focused support can be a growth catalyst and a driver for change.
“As UK manufacturing enters a phase where resilience is crucial, Made Smarter is aiding SMEs in developing robust plans for impactful results.”
Juergen Maier, Industrialist and author of the Made Smarter Review, added: “I am pleased that the Made Smarter programme, initiated by the manufacturing review I led in 2017, is now expanding across England with a commitment to 2030. This type of policy continuity is exactly what our manufacturing sector needs, and I am confident it will stimulate investment and productivity.”