Business education for Black Country bosses

Black Country Skills Factory launches Leadership & Management Programme.

The Black Country Skills Factory is launching a programme of 12 bespoke bite-sized and accredited leadership and management courses which aim to up-skill the operational leaders of manufacturing supply chain companies (i.e. supervisors and managers).

Half of the courses will focus on ‘hard (practical management) skills’, where there is currently no provision of this type in the Black Country. The other courses will focus on ‘soft (leadership) skills’ with individual coaching running alongside these modules. The courses will be delivered on-site, in host manufacturing companies, enabling delegates to benchmark and learn from the host company. The 12 courses will run between April and December 2015, with the first course taking place at Thomas Dudley Ltd on Wednesday 15th April.

The course programme has been developed in response to a Black Country LEP skills audit in 2013 which identified management and leadership skills shortages across the manufacturing sector and the project is funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills through their UK Futures Programme – Management and Leadership in Supply Chains and Networked Organisations. It will address the lack of operational management and leadership skills in Black Country manufacturing SMEs and help to improve their overall productivity.

The Skills Factory has coordinated this project together with a consortium of employers and employer representative groups including: Huf UK Ltd, ZF Lemforder Ltd, UTC Aerospace Systems, Thomas Dudley Ltd, Lift and Engineering Services Ltd, the EEF Ltd, the Confederation of British Metalforming and the Cast Metals Federation.

Paul Linton, Chairman of the Black Country LEP Employment & Skills Board, said: “We believe that improving supply chain management and leadership is the solution likely to unlock improved performance most rapidly in manufacturing supply chain companies in the Black Country.

“These courses have been developed in partnership with employers and employer representative to ensure the content will deliver the skills the sector needs to enable us to continue growing the Black Country economy.”

The courses are aimed at manufacturing companies with a focus on SMEs and operational leaders within these companies who have no formal management training. Courses are 1 day, bite-sized modules, delivered in the Black Country, but are open to anyone nationally.

UKCES is investing over £1 million in seven pilot projects, including the Black Country Skills Factory project investment of £105,000 which will develop new ways of boosting leadership and management skills in UK businesses. The seven projects, which are designed and led by employers, will work with networks and supply chains in the UK’s manufacturing, construction and legal services sectors over the next 12 months.

The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led project supported by government funding whose aim is to address the skills shortages in the High Value Manufacturing sector in the Black Country, the only scheme of this kind across the UK to focus specifically on the HVM sector.

For further information on the project and how companies can sign up visit and follow on Twitter @BCSkillsFactory.