Supporting SMEs to develop workforce skills and maximise potential for growth

9:30 - 12:30, 14 January 2021, virtual workshop via Zoom

The interactive, practical workshop will explore how business schools can help small businesses develop the workforce skills that they need to improve productivity and thrive in today's challenging market conditions. By the end of the session participants will have an improved understanding about:

  • The development of skills and good work with a particular focus on the foundational and hi tech sectors
  • The relationship between workforce skills and productivity/performance; and the role of people in driving performance
  • How regional infrastructure/projects are supporting skills development
  • The opportunities and challenges in nascent SME markets and challenges

This workshop is part of the Regional Liaison Network's series of events and is co-hosted by the Small Business Charter and Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.

Speakers include:

Professor Carol Atkinson
Faculty Head: Research and Knowledge Exchange, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Jennie Shorley
Head of Engaged Scholarship, Faculty Head of Accreditations, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Professor Ben Lupton
Professor of Employment, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Dawn Duggan
People, Skills & Talent Lead, GC Business Growth Hub

Roxy Lawton
Enterprise Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Dr Rupak Kharel
Reader in Cyber Security, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Carl Diver
Academic Lead Industry 4.0 | Reader, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

9:30   Chair's Welcome

Professor Carol Atkinson, Faculty Head: Research and Knowledge Exchange, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Section 1: Skills Utilisation and Good Jobs

9:40   Presentation on recent CIPD project on skills utilisation/job design in SMEs, and the new Good Employment Learning Lab

Professor Ben Lupton, Professor of Employment, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

9:55   Manchester Growth Hub on their HR support for SMEs – particularly during COVID

Dawn Duggan, People, Skills & Talent Lead, GC Business Growth Hub

10:10   Breakout Group Discussions

10:40   Feedback Session

10:50   Break

Section 2: Industry 4.0 and SME Growth

11:00 Introduction

Jennie Shorley, Head of Engaged Scholarship, Faculty Head of Accreditations, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

11:10   The 4th Industrial Revolution: implications for skills and growth

Dr Carl Diver, Academic Lead Industry 4.0 | Reader, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

11:25   The Cyber and AI Foundries: implications for skills and growth

Roxy Lawton, Enterprise Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Dr Rupak Kharel, Reader in Cyber Security, Manchester Metropolitan University

11:40   Breakout Group Discussions: Challenges in creating SME growth in new and disruptive markets

12:10   Feedback Session

12:20   Closing remarks

Professor Carol Atkinson

Professor Carol Atkinson
Faculty Head: Research and Knowledge Exchange, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Carol joined Man Met's Business School from Bradford University’s School of Management in 2012. At both she has held a wide range of management, teaching and research roles. Prior to becoming an academic, Carol worked as an HR practitioner in the financial services, retail and voluntary sectors. She has won both research council and organisational funding to research topics such as working time flexibility, the HR/performance relationship and older workers. Her most recent work explores gender pay gaps and menopause in the workplace.

Carol is a member of the Chartered ABS Research Committee and sits on Greater Manchester's Good Employment Charter Board. She is also a former British University Industrial Relations Association Executive Committee member and sits on a number of academic journal editorial committee/review boards. Her research has won a number of awards including the prestigious CIPD Professor Ian Beardwell prize on two occasions.

Dr Carl Diver
Academic Lead Industry 4.0 | Reader, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Carl Diver, is the Academic lead on Industry 4.0 at MMU and the UK’s first Reader in Industrial Digitalisation. Industry 4.0 will enable the connectivity of the entire supply chain through horizontal integration and throughout organisations by vertical integration. He has an industrial background having worked in the automotive sector for over 12 years in manufacturing. His PhD students and MSc students work on additive manufacturing and digital connectivity related projects with Industry sponsorship in many cases. He is the academic lead of the Department of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board at MMU, Chair of the Gambica University Industry Council. He works closely with local stakeholders such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, MIDAS around strategy. He is currently involved in a KTP project related to Industry 4.0 for a food packaging company. He is on the project review panel for the £20m Made Smarter North West pilot. He was recently part of the team that secured £3.2m in funding, as a co-I, from ERDF to establish an additive manufacturing facility in Manchester dedicated for the use of SMEs, this facility will invest £800,000 in state of the art equipment related to additive manufacturing.

Carl is leading the innovation around Industry 4.0 within the live grants TRANSFORM-CE (€9m) and SHAREPAIR (€7.4m). He led the activities at MMU in agreeing the collaboration between MMU, Siemens and Festo on the Connected Curriculum program. He regularly speaks at conferences and industrial trade shows about industry 4.0. He is fostering cross faculty collaboration at MMU through running sandpits to bring academics together to work on common projects. He led the University’s involvement in the Industry 4.0 Summit in Manchester central in 2019 where over 70 members of staff and students were involved over 2 days of the trade show. His work in manufacturing has been published in highly regarded journals.

Dawn Duggan
People, Skills & Talent Lead, GC Business Growth Hub

Daw has been with the Business Growth Hub since September 2014 and is responsible for the design, delivery and evaluation of the People, Skills & Talent Programmes which include the Executive Development Programme, Workforce Development, Inclusive Growth, Mentoring, National Be the Business Mentoring for Growth Programme and the new and exciting Skills for Growth – SME Support Programme.

She currently manages a team of 63 people working across Greater Manchester and nationally on the above programmes. Businesses will be able to access this support and receive development on a diverse range of areas from 28 externally procured providers, mentors and specialist Business Growth Hub Advisors.

Roxy Lawton
Enterprise Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Roxy is an Enterprise Fellow, HEA Fellow and joined the Centre for Enterprise in February 2016. Roxy works across a series of programmes to support leadership, innovation, business growth, business start-up and entrepreneurship and has worked within this space for over 16 years.

Roxy currently teaches on one of the core units Responsible Enterprise, which is part of the Business Management Degree, the unit explores both UK and global responsible enterprise, exploring the context of UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable development, looking at different types of businesses, traditional MNC, not-for-profit and social enterprises and how they can utilise Carroll’s Pyramid CSR (1991), benchmarking organisations again Alter’s sustainability spectrum (2007) . The role of government in society, and how this impacts on businesses. Human Rights and Ethics, responsible enterprise across supply chains.   With Roxy’s wealth of business engagement she is also able to provide context of how this is practically applied to businesses and is able to provide examples of what business are doing to address these challenges. Roxy is very well informed on nationally and regional policies and projects that support these agendas and therefore can provide further context with her teaching.

Roxy is also the Project Lead for the ERDF Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry programme, which is a research and innovation programme, with a partnership between Manchester Metropolitan University as the lead, Lancaster University, The University of Manchester and The University of Salford. She is also co-leads  the Small Business Leadership Programme, SBC & CABS, and leads on the delivery of the programme.

Since 2016, Roxy joined the Centre for Enterprise to develop and establish three of our ERDF programmes to support SME’s within the Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Warrington region. She was then appointed as the Project Manager for the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme, which supported a range of business start-up, early inception businesses, and more established businesses across the Cheshire and Warrington region. Roxy lead on the delivery for the programme and successfully engage with over 200 business start-up and SME’s within the region.

Roxy has teaching and learning experience, programme design and development, business support, project management and delivery, within a higher education context. Prior to this, Roxy has project managed the development of apprenticeship frameworks within a number of sectors mainly construction and the nuclear sector. She has been involved in programmes since her early career to support learning, development and skills for over 16 years.

Roxy is currently undertaking her MBA and graduated from University of Manchester in 2003 with a BA (Hons) in Religion and Theology, and gained her Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice in 2017.

Professor Ben Lupton
Professor of Employment, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Ben is Professor of Employment at Manchester Metropolitan University and is Director of the Decent Work and Productivity Research Centre.  His current research interest is in employment in small enterprises.  He co-authored the evaluation report for CIPD’s ‘People Skills’ project, which provided employment support to small businesses, and their subsequent report on the role of Local Enterprise Partnerships in skills development. He is currently working on the evaluation of Greater Manchester’s Good Employment Charter. Ben has published widely on a range of employment topics in leading academic journals. Before joining MMU, Ben was an HR professional in the NHS and he is a Chartered Fellow of CIPD.

Dr Rupak Kharel
Reader in Cyber Security, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Rupak Kharel is the Reader in Cyber Security at the Manchester Metropolitan University which he joined in 2011. He is Principal Investigator (PI) and Academic Lead on the £6 million ERDF funded Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry (GMCF) project. GMCF exists to work with SMEs in the GM area to bolster cyber defences, build resilience and protect businesses operations and assets. The foundry is helping SMEs to develop new products and services that embodies the ethos and notion of 'Digital Security by Design'.

Rupak has PhD in secure communication, completed in 2011 from Northumbria University, UK. He has over 15 years of experience in the academia where he lectures on various modules on cyber security, digital forensics and emerging digital technologies. He is avid advocate of digital transformation for SMEs and is PI on multiple Innovate UK and industry funded projects (funding value of around £1.5 million) to help industries realize their digital transformation ambition. His research focusses on cyber physical systems and challenges including cyber security amongst other areas and have published abundantly in journals and conferences.

He is a senior member of the IEEE, member of the IET and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), U.K.

Jennie Shorley
Head of Engaged Scholarship, Faculty Head of Accreditations, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Jennie develops innovative research and knowledge exchange projects, supporting staff to create and fund innovation in research and enterprise. She is a Board Member and Director of Praxis Auril, as well as being the Volunteer of the Year in 2020 for her work in professional development in Knowledge Exchange. She runs Get That Grant, a programme which takes academics from idea to research bid, with success in funds such as the Leverhulme Trust, and Research Funding Sandpits for researchers. Jennie is the lead academic for our suite of Accreditations - the Business School has recently become Triple Crown Accredited and engages with other accreditations in order to support and promote excellence and continuous improvement. Jennie manages the ESRC funded Good Employment Learning Lab – investigating what works in terms of good employment in a practical project. She recently led the School's successful Business School Impact System (BSIS) assessment, and is working to embed impact principles and activities across the Faculty. She developed MMU’s successful initial Small Business Charter application in 2014. Prior to her current role she was Deputy Director of the Centre for Enterprise, a 30 strong multi-disciplinary centre working to develop small firms' growth and innovation potential. Jennie has won over £10m of funding from the ESRC, AHRC, EPSRC, ERDF, Erasmus+ and others, including the £4m Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre with the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

This workshop is part of the Regional Liaison Network's series of events and is co-hosted by the Small Business Charter and Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.

The workshop will be of particular value to organisations (business schools, small businesses and policymakers) working in and for Greater Manchester and the broader North West region.

In order to make Regional Liaison Network events practicable we charge a fee of £30 per person.

Attendance is restricted to SBC award holding business schools, members of the Chartered ABS and representatives of their 'parent' universities. If you are unsure about whether you are eligible to attend please contact Meenal Datar meenal.datar@charteredabs.org

SBC award holding schools directory

Chartered ABS member directory

For each event we can offer a small number of fully funded tickets to representatives of small businesses. These are available on a first come, first served basis. To claim a fully funded place please register via the website.

The Regional Liaison Network is comprised of representatives of Small Business Charter Award holding schools.

Launched in November 2020 the primary purpose of the Network is to develop and host a series of events across the UK that facilitate knowledge exchange between SBC schools, and provide opportunities for SBC schools to connect with small businesses and other stakeholders.

Events hosted by the Regional Liaison Network are open to all members of the Chartered ABS and representatives of small businesses. Each event has a strong regional dimension and is designed to reflect the particular needs and areas of interest of local and regional business communities.

Currently there are 18 members of the Regional Liaison Network. Click here for further details.

Delivered as part of the Regional Liaison Network

Co hosted with: