Bespoke support and a new Centre of Excellence to help Scotland’s manufacturers innovate and expand have been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
Supported by £70 million of investment, A Manufacturing Future for Scotland outlines how the SNP Government will work with industry, higher and further education to stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in Scottish manufacturing, enabling it to compete globally more effectively.
Funding includes £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund to develop a resource-efficient, greener and more competitive Scottish economy. This includes a Circular Economy Investment Fund to help manufacturers develop innovative technologies, business models and infrastructure, from proof of concept through to implementation. It will also introduce a new Circular Economy Service, offering development support to businesses seeking to redesign their processes and products. Complementing this service, the plan will also address anticipated demand for skills by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects and improving engagement between industry and education.
The First Minister said:
“Manufacturing will be a key driver of future prosperity. The products we make, from textiles to pharmaceuticals, represent over half our international exports and 54% of our research and development expenditure. While manufacturing has undergone a significant transformation in recent decades, with increased globalisation and greater use of digital technology, it remains a high skills and high wage sector, with earnings above the Scottish average.
“Our Programme for Government committed us to act and backed by £70 million of funding, the Action Plan outlines how the SNP Government, our Enterprise Agencies and Zero Waste Scotland will work with industry and higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, productivity and investment. Amongst the key actions in the strategy will be the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Manufacturing to act as a hub for continuous innovation, ensuring Scotland remains a sustainable and competitive place to do business.”
Added Kenneth Gibson MSP:
“Scotland has a diverse manufacturing base with significant opportunities to grow, helping companies take greater advantage of global markets and increase the contribution this makes to our economy. The action plan sets out how we’ll help companies develop their business further, in areas like leadership, innovation and efficiency. “The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Service will offer vital support to manufacturers seeking to develop processes and products that improve the economic performance of small and medium sized enterprises while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, in line with SNP Government policy.
“The SNP Government will shortly publish Making Things Last setting out in detail priorities for delivering the economic, environmental and social benefits of a more circular economy. For example, by introducing a new service to embed workplace and employee practices that drive innovation. Working with industry and partners through this action plan, we’re fully committed to continued provision of the best possible support to help Scotland’s manufacturers grow.”
The full Manufacturing Action Plan can be read at: