Watchtower

The Watchtower Programme Supporting Lancashire’s Based SME’s Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing Companies to Recover, Grow & Continue to Thrive

in partnership with:

 

The Watchtower Initiative: Support for businesses to build Competitiveness and Resilience through Insight, Skills, Innovation & Diversification

Why the need for Watchtower

Watchtower is a 2 year £1,000,000 initiative from Lancashire County Council to support the Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing (AEM) sector targeted at tackling some of the economic impacts of Covid-19 and stimulating growth. There has been a temporary collapse in demand for AEM products as a result of lockdowns, which has impacted on the aerospace, automotive and power markets and supply chains.  In turn, significant numbers of high value jobs had been furloughed and potentially lost, impacting on Lancashire’s skills base and wealth generating capacity.

The Aim of Watchtower

The Lancashire AEM Watchtower project is amongst the first to be approved for funding from the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, launched to take urgent action to help the sectors and occupations in our county most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

How can Watchtower help Lancashire based SME’s

The Watchtower project has used local industry knowledge to develop a dashboard of the health of 50 strategically important aerospace suppliers as they stabilise, recover and grow during the Covid-19 pandemic. The dashboard has assisted in identify organisations that will most benefit from:

  • tailored, coordinated business advice & support
  • help to engage with the right level of business support & at the right phase
  • support to innovative & diversify
  • identifying skills and knowledge gaps in the workforce and advice on how to address
  • assistance to access growth opportunities

What does Watchtower include:

The two-year programme includes five key elements:

  1. An intelligence function to identify and protect Lancashire’s key aerospace assets and businesses
  2. Support for businesses to diversify, find new contracts which fit their manufacturing capabilities nationally and internationally
  3. Support for businesses to innovate, for example, developing new products or new ways of working
  4. A talent retention service to help people who have lost skilled jobs in aerospace to find new work
  5. A campaign to reinforce that Lancashire remains a perfect location for aerospace and advanced manufacturing businesses seeking somewhere to grow

Northwest Aerospace Alliance and Aerospace Consulting joined together as AEM-Hi Consortium delivering 1,2, 3 and 5. Community & Business Partners are delivering Lot 4.

Prof Andrew Schofield, Chairman of North West Aerospace Alliance

 

“This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to making Lancashire the most attractive location in the UK. Businesses, academia and local government will have the opportunity to work together to provide the best location for AEM investment that generates high value employment and delivers sustainable growth contributing to net zero targets.

Lancashire is at the heart of the North West of England with the largest advanced engineering and manufacturing capability in the UK. This ambitious new Lancashire AEM Watchtower programme will look out for those companies in the region which need help and support with diversification, innovation and skills to recover and grow their businesses.”

 

Dr David Bailey, CEO of Aerospace Consulting

Jaydee Davis Operations Director at Community & Business Partners

“We have a talented and highly skilled workforce in Lancashire and this investment focuses on both the people and businesses. This programme will allow us to support with retention, redundancies, and recruitment, ensuring we keep our talent within the sector and county, following the aftermath of Covid-19.”

How you could benefit from Watchtower as a Lancashire based SME

In March 2022 Representatives from the county council, North West Aerospace Alliance, Aerospace Consulting and Community Business Partners visited the Addison Precision facility in Thornton-Cleveleys. Addison Precision has worked across numerous sectors, including the aerospace, defence and automotive industries for the last 40 years, and has continued to adapt and diversify during this time and during the pandemic.

Diversification is even more important now and something Addison Precision recognise it must continue to do moving forward, and the Lancashire AEM Watchtower project will support them to do that.

Mark Verdon, Managing Director of Addison Precision said: “The Lancashire AEM Watchtower project is an innovative initiative that we are very pleased to support and is looking to assist us to access growth opportunities and prosper in the months and years ahead.”

“The past two years have been extremely challenging to the Aerospace sector, and we have had to adapt and diversify our operations further to accommodate these challenges. This has led us in some interesting directions and processes as we look to the future and this is something we have to continue to explore.”

“I believe The Watchtower project looks like it will provide some much welcome support for us in this endeavour.”

County Councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development, and growth said: “We are pleased to support this vital industry in our county which employs around 13,000 people in Lancashire and has been hard hit by the economic impact of Covid-19.”

“There has been a temporary collapse in demand for AEM products as a result of lockdowns, which has impacted on the aerospace, automotive and power markets and supply chains. In turn, significant numbers of high value jobs have been furloughed and potentially lost, impacting on our skills base and wealth generating capacity.”

“The Lancashire AEM Watchtower project is amongst the first to be approved for funding from the Lancashire Economic Recovery and Growth Fund, which we have launched to take urgent action to help the sectors and occupations in our county most exposed.”

“We want to support AEM businesses to be competitive, innovative and financially sound to ensure they can successfully recover from the pandemic and thrive.”

“The county council’s financial contribution will support 40 aerospace supply chain SMEs, help safeguard and create 200 jobs, and bring in £30m worth of revenue into the county.”

How to sign up:

If your business is an SME

If your business is Lancashire based

If your business is in the following Industries or supply chain to these industries:

    • Aerospace
    • Advanced Engineering & Manufacturing
    • Auto Motive
    • Nuclear
    • Advanced Materials
    • Computing & Electronics
    • Other: i.e Rail, Medical

your business needs support to help you diversify and find new contracts that fit your manufacturing capabilities

your business needs support to find new contracts which fit your capabilities

your business support needs to understand their opportunities to innovate and develop new products, processes and services to connect with Lancashire Innovation Centres of excellence

your business needs support if you have individuals at risk through restructuring and redundancy, supporting those individuals with further opportunities and matchmaking of their skills with companies recruiting to secure further employment within the sector

Register Your Interest Now to Discover How Watchtower Is Helping Lancashire Based SME’s Recover, Grow & Continue To Thrive

For Lancashire Business wishing to participate and to see how you can benefit from the Watchtower Programme Come & Meet The Team on:

DATE: Wednesday 14th September 2022

CLICK HERE to Book on to the Watchtower Launch Event Now:

 

Do You Have Unanswered questions about how Watchtower Could Benefit you?

Please contact us using the form below


    Our Partners