A survey reveals many manufacturers don’t have enough information about government-funded support schemes available to help their business.
The survey, conducted by GAMBICA - a UK trade body for instrumentation, control, automation & laboratory technology - in cooperation with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, The Manufacturers' Organisation and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, tried to assess the level of awareness and uptake of 18 key manufacturing support services provided by the UK government.
Out of the survey’s 466 respondents , only 16 per cent were already using or considering using the schemes, with an 34 per cent being aware of them.
The most popular schemes amongst those surveyed, with 70 per cent and 69 per cent awareness respectively, were the Apprenticeship Service and the R&D Tax Credits. The schemes that manufacturers are least aware of are the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot and TRS (Talent Retention Solution).
In terms of take up, 28 per cent of those surveyed were already using the Apprenticeship Service for their company. Interestingly, the scheme to which most companies were signed up was the R&D Tax Credits, with almost a third of respondents confirming that they are involved in the scheme.
"Our aim was to create a survey that would be simple enough to complete but gather good evidence of awareness levels," explained Steve Brambley, deputy director of GAMBICA. "The results indicate a wide spread of awareness levels of the different schemes, suggesting the need for specific targeted communication actions. The really positive outcome of the survey is that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is keen to work with GAMBICA and the other survey stakeholders in order to raise awareness and promote these essential support schemes," he concluded.
The authors of the research have recommended the government should improve its communication strategy regarding the schemes. In November, BIS will start a forum focused on prioritising the actions needed to achieve the goal.