WMG interns supporting productivity drive in manufacturing SMEs

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This summer, WMG has 20 places available for Midlands manufacturers to host a talented student or graduate to work on a strategic project in their business.

Part funded by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, WMG’s SME group at the University of Warwick has been delivering this internship scheme since 2010, with over 120 businesses so far benefiting from a range of impactful outcomes. 

The scheme encourages students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects to consider careers in the manufacturing supply chain. Coupled with this, it supports SME manufacturers to increase productivity by embedding new technologies and processes into their businesses for minimal cost (£2000 per 8-week project). 

One of the companies to benefit last year was Made in the Midlands member Threeway Pressings Ltd. They took on University of Warwick Engineering student James Burt to explore novel manufacturing methods and materials for a particular product that they were sourcing in the thousands from the far east. The project helped to determine how they could manufacture the product in-house and re-shore the product type back to the UK.   

Philip Stanley, Director at Threeway Pressings said:

“It has been valuable to us to have someone look at a high priority challenge in our business. James was very diligent and his findings useful for the future direction of our business. The results of this project could help us save costs in the business, generate a new income stream, and bring more manufacturing work back to the UK.”

Sado Nuuer, another Engineering student from the University Warwick worked with two of her classmates Lewis Wing and Navid Mehrabi to solve productivity challenges using Lean Six Sigma for three West Midlands based manufacturers – Autins Group, Exactaform Ltd and Precision Technologies Ltd. 

She said:

“What I gained from the internship was how the theoretical knowledge from my course can be applied in practice and also some of the constraints to ideal application. Furthermore, this internship cemented my interest in working in the manufacturing supply chain in the future.”

Dr Mark Swift, CTO of WMG’s HVM Catapult centre said:

“Our internship programme acts as a valuable bridge between our students’ academic studies and a future career in the manufacturing industry.  Our small manufacturers are able to get access to fresh new thinking, backed up by WMG centre HVM Catapult expertise. This is crucial if we want to tackle the well documented UK skills gap.”

Any SME wishing to register an interest in this scheme or more information about the range of support that WMG offers SMEs in the region should email [email protected] by Monday 8th May 2017.

More background details

What does WMG’s SME internship programme offer?

·  8-week summer internship based at the host business, starting early July until the end of August

·  50% of the intern costs are covered by WMG

·  Access to WMG supervisor and equipment

·  Administration management including the writing of job specs, advertising the role, setting up interviews and monitoring progress

The interns will be employed by WMG, University of Warwick, for the duration of the project and SMEs will receive an invoice for £2000 to cover half of the costs.


·  Must be a registered business

·  Must be an SME (an organisation with < £35 million turnover and < 250 employees)

·  Must be a manufacturing organisation in the UK, or deliver activity that adds value to the UK manufacturing supply chain)

In general, projects should relate to the expertise available in the WMG team including manufacturing, materials, product development, digital systems, factory 4.0, and automation.

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