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Sharing in Growth Funding Boost

New 6 million funding for Sharing in Growth productivity programme

Aerospace and advanced manufacturing firms now have a new opportunity to learn best practice in productivity and competitiveness improvement – thanks to increased government support for the Sharing in Growth (SiG) programme. 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has awarded Sharing in Growth a £6 million contract to help UK manufacturing and engineering companies better compete in the global aerospace market. 

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Sharing in Growth continues to deliver excellent results –boosting productivity, creating quality jobs and helping UK companies take a leading role in the global aerospace market.

“This is an important programme for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector, securing more than £4 billion in contracts and contributing to our exporting strength. That’s why we’ve extended our support for the programme by £6 million and I look forward to seeing the UK’s manufacturing and engineering companies go from strength to strength.” 

Established in 2013, the award-winning Sharing in Growth programme has supported more than 60 companies with some 10,000 employees and, with the increased funding matched by private investment, can now offer 36-month programme places valued at over £300K per year to each beneficiary company. The programme has already helped companies secure more than £4 billion in contracts and the extra funding aims to net a further £400 million. 

SiG offers ambitious aerospace suppliers the opportunity to make sustainable improvements to their leadership, culture and operational capability. The programme’s 100 business coaches, backed by a bank of world-leading experts, help companies tackle their self-diagnosed barriers to growth and, for many, double their turnover. An independent, not-for-profit programme, Sharing in Growth is supported by the Regional Growth Fund and by more than £150 million in private investment.

Sharing in Growth CEO Andy Page said: “The increased government funding means we can maintain our impetus, helping companies to address (on average) 20% cost gap and a 50% productivity improvement. Having secured more than £4 billion in contracts two years ahead of schedule, we are well on target to safeguard 10,000 UK jobs by 2020.

“Sharing in Growth is effective because it has the unique scope and scale that is commensurate with the size of the UK’s productivity challenge. We provide funded, independent training, coaching and mentoring to improve companies’ capability and capacity so that they win business which they can then invest further in their skills and infrastructure to win even more contracts.

“Contributing to the UK’s exporting strength and the government’s Industrial Strategy, the programme complements other key government-supported initiatives such as the Aerospace Technology Institute and the High-Value Manufacturing Catapults, so they win a greater share of the burgeoning global aerospace market.” 

Family-owned precision engineering firm JJ Churchill of Leicestershire was one of the first aerospace suppliers selected for Sharing in Growth in 2013 when its ambitions were to overcome risks caused by the oil crisis by expanding its aerospace export business. After six years with SiG, the company has secured more than £300 million in contracts, increased its headcount by 35% and its export forward order book from under £1 million to more than £37 million. Consequently, the company has been able to make a £10 million investment in plant and equipment. Its plans are now to hit more than £38 million in annual turnover, up from around £15 million in 2016, and to add around 20 new jobs by 2020. 

Executive chairman Andrew Churchill remarked: “Sharing in Growth is an excellent example of the government and engineering working together to make our industry more effective, more efficient and future-proofed. This is increasing opportunity, sales and jobs. Working with Sharing in Growth, we have invested in our people, our efficiency and our technology so that we can delight customers by delivering quality products in full, on time and with world-beating competitiveness. As a result, we signed one of our biggest ever long-term agreements worth around £70 million to supply precision machined blades to Rolls-Royce. I don’t think it gets any better than that.”

Working with Sharing in Growth has enabled Glasgow-based Walker Precision Engineering to move up the value chain. Once a small family firm it’s now a strategic international aerospace and defence supply partner. More than 300 skilled staff are now employed in three state-of-the-art manufacturing hubs. The company is rapidly gaining recognition as a space industry centre of excellence. 

Having made wide-ranging improvements to its culture, training, organisation and processes, Walker has invested more than £7 million in its plant and latest technology. It’s secured almost £70 million in contracts and is on track to increase its turnover from £15 million in 2015 to more than £25 million by 2020. 

Managing director Mark Walker says of the fund: “Sharing in Growth has supported Walker in its journey, providing conscientious coaching and mentoring to facilitate the company’s growth plans. The programme gave us the capability and confidence to embed a high-performance culture across the group, to deliver excellence for our customers and to invest in our future.” 

Endorsed by Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier, GE, GKN, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Rolls-Royce, Safran and Thales, the SiG programme supports the government and industry-backed Aerospace Growth Partnership and its supply chain charter. In 2018 Sharing in Growth won the national Semta Innovation Award for improving the capability and productivity of over 10,000 people working in the UK aerospace supply chain.

To qualify for the programme, companies need to be aerospace suppliers, have a genuine ambition to grow and be able to release their teams for on-site coaching, training and mentoring. Each participating company has an agreed training plan tailored to their individual needs. The training is publicly funded while the company’s contribution equates to individuals’ time spent in development or training. Companies interested in how the programme can improve their competitiveness and productivity should register for SiG or join a webinar.

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