Bespoke support and a new Centre of Excellence to help Scotland’s manufacturers innovate and expand have been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Supported by £70 million of investment, a new strategy for manufacturing – A Manufacturing Future for Scotland – outlines how government will work with industry and with higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in Scottish manufacturing in order that it can better compete globally.
Manufacturing represents over half of Scotland’s international exports and of our investment in research and development, with nearly 190,000 people employed in the industry.
The funding, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund, will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy.
This includes a Circular Economy Investment Fund to help manufacturers develop innovative technologies, business models and infrastructure, from the proof of concept stage 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 help to address anticipated demand for skills by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and improving engagement between industry and education.
Speaking during a visit to Glenhead Engineering in Clydebank, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Scotland has a long and proud manufacturing heritage and manufacturing must also be a key driver of our future prosperity.
The products we make, from pharmaceuticals to textiles, represent over 50 per cent of our international exports and 54 per cent of our expenditure on research and development.
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 that are above the Scottish average.
Our Programme for Government committed us to further action and backed by £70 million of new circular economy funding, the Action Plan outlines how the Scottish 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 which will act as a hub for continuous innovation to ensure Scotland remains a sustainable and competitive place to do business.”