MTC launches SME support service with Lloyds Bank

2 mins read

The Manufacturing Technology Centre and Lloyds Bank have joined forces to offer a wide-ranging package of free support and resources to help UK manufacturing and engineering SMEs embrace innovation, develop their workforce and increase productivity.

The new SME Support Service includes advice, guidance and access to additional funding and resources for smaller organisations. This will help SMEs recruit their next generation of apprentices, upskill their existing workforce, and identify opportunities to deploy emerging technologies to solve productivity challenges and improve business performance.

The SME Support Service is the latest initiative in a five year partnership between Lloyds Bank and the MTC's Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre and aims to increase the collaboration’s reach in order to deliver greater positive impact. The package includes up to £3 million from Lloyds' Apprenticeship Levy Fund.

In addition, the SME Apprenticeship Support Service provides financial and practical assistance to help SMEs take on new apprentices. The MTC’s training experts will offer one-to-one advice and guidance to help SMEs understand and navigate the complexities of apprenticeship funding, including the Government’s apprentice incentive scheme.

They will also provide a full recruitment service to identify and secure the best talent for each business’s specific needs. Eligible SMEs will have access to salary support funding for the first 12 months of their apprentice’s training.

Lloyds Bank is a strong advocate and supporter of apprenticeships, and recognises the value and opportunities they bring to employers and individuals. To enable SMEs to experience the benefits of apprenticeships, Lloyds Bank has agreed to share its Apprenticeship Levy Fund with SMEs, covering apprenticeship training costs, enabling more businesses to invest in skills and helping the UK economy grow. Over three years, up to £3m has been made available to cover the cost of Level 3 and Level 4 apprenticeship training at either of the MTC’s training centres.

MTC apprentices learn from proven industry experts in an environment at the forefront of technological advance. The programmes include exposure to disruptive technologies and new ways of working, empowering learners to help accelerate innovation when they return to their employers. An ambitious enrichment programme also supports development of the "soft skills" they’ll need for professional and personal success.

An SME Training Service is also available to give businesses free access to some of MTC Training’s industry leading courses to help upskill their existing workforces and raise awareness of disruptive technologies. The MTC’s highly-acclaimed Manufacturing Support Services complete the programme, delivering free consultations with an expert team to help manufacturers embrace the latest technology and improve quality, cost and delivery performance to drive sustainable growth.

Colin Bancroft, strategic development manager at MTC Training said the new service will help boost industry’s progress and success. He said, “Our goal is to provide the knowledge, skills and support that industry needs to implement the technology of tomorrow, today. In partnership with Lloyds Bank, the SME Support Service scheme will help us reach even more businesses, delivering real impact and driving positive change to empower the UK to realise its potential in advanced manufacturing.”

David Atkinson, UK head of manufacturing, SME and mid-corporate at Lloyds Bank, said: “Lloyds Bank has supported the UK’s manufacturing sector since it was founded by two industrialists in the Midlands way back in 1865! The sector continues to be an integral part of the long-term sustainable success of the UK economy. The new SME Support Service, in conjunction with the MTC, helps us deliver on our commitment to manufacturers by supporting the UK's small-to-medium sized businesses recover strongly from the recent impacts of the pandemic.”

More details about the new SME Support Service and eligibility criteria and advice can be found at

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.