AME hosts historic ‘devolution’ deal for the West Midlands

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The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering’s manufacturing hub in Coventry was the venue for the signing of a ‘devolution’ deal for the West Midlands.

Members of the West Midlands Combined Authority met with Chancellor George Osborne and business secretary Sajid Javid to pledge their support to an agreement that will unlock £1 billion in Government investment. The deal with local authorities will see the region taking greater control of its own destiny in key areas like economic growth.

AME was chosen to host the announcement after it impressed the Government with its ability to bring together industry and academia to introduce the UK’s first ‘Faculty on the Floor’.

Speaking at the launch, Carl Perrin, director of AME, said: “We are a great example of how collaboration can make a real difference to the West Midlands and the UK, with Unipart Manufacturing and Coventry University coming together to change the way we train the manufacturing graduates of the future and deliver new technology to industry.

“By working in partnership, we have created the UK’s First ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’, where 60 students are now working towards their degrees and pioneering R&D work has been matured to commercial reality, already creating tens of new jobs in the region.”

He added: “Along the way, AME has received significant support from Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership in turning our exciting vision into reality and we believe the closer Government and the local authorities can all work together the better.

“We have some major regional strengths to build on and exploit and we look forward to playing our role in accelerating our advanced manufacturing capabilities and ensuring young people have the chance to learn in a world class environment that is getting them ready for industry life.”

AME is a collaboration between Coventry University and global manufacturing giant Unipart. Earlier this month, a showcase event at the AME provided the platform for Unipart to launch a major national campaign to raise awareness of the productivity issue facing UK industry.

Unipart chairman and group chief executive John Neill explained: “Productivity is at the heart of our nation’s quality of life and yet Britain is lagging behind our global competitors. Economists talk about this as a puzzle, but we believe that Unipart has the solution.”

He added: “The Government has made productivity improvement a major priority, and Unipart is pleased to be able to play our part in helping to unlock the potential that exists amongst millions of people in the UK to not only be more productive, but to do so by becoming more engaged with their organisations,” he said.

“Over the past 25 years, Unipart has invested in creating a comprehensive ecosystem called The Unipart Way which continuously improves productivity in any organisation. The Unipart Way is at the heart of how we are developing young engineers in Coventry.

“We have implemented The Unipart Way in all of our own operating companies and in our clients around the world. We know it works because it consistently delivers strong results. It is not a lottery that relies on the breakthrough ideas of a small number of people. The Unipart Way is a complete ecosystem that engages everyone in the organisation in the science of improvement.”

Unipart is setting out to raise awareness of how to improve productivity through a major national media campaign and a web based information hub.