A Midlands’ manufacturer of design and technology equipment has received a major funding injection to help inspire the pupils and teachers of tomorrow.
HME Technology, of Saxon Park, Bromsgrove, has secured backing from the Business Innovation Programme (BIP), which promotes innovation across the West Midlands by helping SMEs to grow through investment and job creation.
Founded in 1984, the company supplies products including forges, brazing hearths, furnaces, welding tables, fume extraction systems, kilns, woodworking equipment, wood dust extraction systems, metal finishing and CNC machines.
It is a champion of design and technology in education, fighting to keep the subject at the forefront of learning.
Employing 16 people, it has been awarded a five-figure sum by BIP in order to complete three innovative schemes.
Martyn Hale, chairman, said: “We have commenced production of teacher ‘task sheets’ designed to assist design and technology teachers deliver the curriculum at key stage 3 and 4, ages 11 to 14, with the unique emphasis on a range of machines in a school classroom.
“The second initiative is with the Imagineering Foundation to complete two new kits based on a project with Jaguar Land Rover. These are designed for primary school learning at key stage 2 covering design and technology and science.
“Thirdly, following accreditation from the Design and Technology Association, we are promoting the mentoring and upskilling of teachers. Historically, teacher understanding and knowledge was linked to universities but the Coalition Government have sought to direct ‘specialist’ schools to offer the facility. As a manufacturer we consider that with the range of machines we supply, and more importantly the health and safety aspect of operating some of the larger ones, we have the ideal location and resource to deliver a recognised learning programme.
“Design & Technology is a subject that offers a future for children in employment. It is vital to the economy because it supports innovation, technological development, skills and engineering of all kinds.
“I’d like to thank BIP for their understanding and appreciation of why this all matters. Manufacturing is on the way back, it is critical to the West Midlands, and we need to inspire the workforce of the future. BIP staff were helpful and efficient – it was a privilege to deal with an organisation which can see the bigger picture and keep bureaucracy and red tape to a minimum.”
The £8.7 million BIP programme offers match-funded grants of up to £30,000 to SMEs employing up to 249 staff throughout the region – Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and the West Midlands.
The grant is aimed at B2B (Business to business) companies who are involved in environment and energy technologies, rail, IT and digital, digital media, medical technologies, aerospace, business and professional services, building technologies, food and drink, advanced materials and manufacturing.
Birmingham City Council is urging other SMEs across the West Midlands from eligible cluster groups to apply for funding – round seven has now closed but the local authority is very confident that more money will be made available.
Councillor Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Transport & the Economy, at Birmingham City Council said:
“We are pleased to be able to help HME, which is a leading innovator in its sector, working with schools across the UK, and exporting abroad, particularly to the Middle East.
“Similarly, small businesses looking to purchase capital equipment, research, develop and launch new products, or improve their marketing strategies should seriously consider the Business Innovation Programme.”
BIP is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered through Birmingham City Council, and in partnership with the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.