UKFP: Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing

Learning the objective as innovative manufacturers get government skills boost The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has chosen five organisations to test new ways to develop innovation skills in the manufacturing sector.  Each will run a trial programme expected to yield valuable learning that can be shared across the sector to improve innovation and productivity.

The successful organisations include a leading UK manufacturer, an employer representative body and UK universities. Projects are based in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Swansea and Lancashire. Each will test skills development in their workplaces as part of the UK Futures Programme, a series of learning programmes aiming to address specific workplace skills needs.  Each project will receive co-investment from UKCES up to £150,000.

UKCES Commissioner and leader of the competition Paul McKelvie OBE said:

“I’m delighted to announce the successful applicants of our Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing competition. My team and I were impressed with the fresh thinking on display in these five projects, and we are excited to see what we can learn from their achievements.”

UK manufacturing is identified as highly productive and a key sector for exports, and this competition seeks to explore new ways of developing skills and practices needed to maximise the value of innovation.  

McKelvie said:

“Innovation is vital for our national prosperity. It has a critical role in productivity and job creation, and nowhere is this true more than the manufacturing sector. It’s vital that that we learn how manufacturing firms can optimise their workplaces and processes to take best advantage of their high-skilled, highly productive workers.

“We will watch and learn carefully over the coming months, and we look forward to sharing the learning from these five projects to the manufacturing sector as a whole.”

The UK Futures Programme is a series of learning programmes that target specific emerging or persistent workforce development problems. This round invited employer-led proposals from businesses and other organisations in the manufacturing sector to run initiatives until summer 2016 that focus on skills to manage the innovation process and exploit innovative products or services for commercial value. 

Download the full communications toolkit here.


Notes to editors:

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a publicly funded, industry-led organisation providing strategic leadership on skills and employment issues in the four home nations of the UK.

•The UK Futures Programme is administered by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.  It offers opportunities for businesses across the UK to develop innovative solutions to long-standing or emerging skills issues.

•The programme is offering co-investment with employers. The core prospectus, which sets out the programme as a whole is available at


•Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing is the fourth of the UK Futures learning programmes. This round targeted organisations in manufacturing to test and refine non--technological skills for innovation. View the brief for Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing.

•The UKCES Growth Through People report is supported by CBI and TUC and sets out long-term priorities that underpin a shared ambition for growth through people. The context is of an improving economy and falling unemployment, but still of the pressing need to tackle deep-seated skills and employment challenges. Five priorities for action are identified: collective action by employers, focusing on productivity in the workplace, more ‘earning and learning’ opportunities, education and employers working better together and measuring success in the skills system by a wider set of outcomes than just qualifications.

•Press enquiries to: Ken Manson, UKCES press officer: 0207 227 7861 /