Innovative new South of Scotland project AIMS to transform manufacturing

Published: 1 March 2022

We are part of an exciting new project which has been launched to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to stimulate greater activity in the South of Scotland, encouraging more innovation and greater productivity.

Our successful bid for funding of £3.3m to deliver the Advancing Innovative Manufacturing in the South of Scotland (AIMS) was made alongside Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Councils, Dumfries and Galloway and Borders Colleges and key stakeholders including Skills Development Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Engineering & Manufacturing Forum and Scottish Borders Engineering Training Association.

The Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. A full list of successful projects is available on the AMCF website.

The total investment is £15.8 million, with £8.3 million from the European Regional Development Fund, £590,000 from the Scottish Government, and the remainder in match-funding from the chosen projects.

What will the services include?

Services will include:

  • Training and upskilling the workforce
  • Research and development investment/innovation/concept development
  • Product realisation
  • Enabling a manufacturing ecosystem

How will this help the South of Scotland?

By assisting existing businesses in the regions to adopt new working practices, the AIMS project will address the ageing and decreasing working age population by making local businesses more attractive to young people and will further encourage new entrants to the region.

More homegrown businesses working with modern technology will also increase skills and therefore drive-up wage levels.

Rob Davidson, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee said:

“This excellent AIMS project has come at precisely the correct time. Following the pandemic and during the current economic downturn, this is needed now more than ever. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to tap into the latest innovations, helping to future proof their industry and assisting with their plans for expansion.”

“This project will help firms from across both Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, hopefully providing an economic boost to the whole south of Scotland region by modernising our manufacturing businesses and upskilling our workforce. Prospering businesses and an upskilled workforce will attract other firms to our region, boosting job opportunities and increasing wages. A win-win outcome for everyone.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, SOSE Chair, said:

“At South of Scotland Enterprise, we want our region to be the centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.

“Integral to that vision is a vibrant and forward-thinking manufacturing sector, which the AIMS project will significantly support.”

“The AIMs project will give SMEs in the South of Scotland the latest equipment and software to help with product testing and development.”

“This access to advanced manufacturing technologies will develop career paths and encourage innovative thinking and new ideas.”

“South of Scotland Enterprise has committed up to £1.5million to the AIMS project and we look forward to working with our partners to ensure it provides significant benefits to the South of Scotland.”

Who is the AIMS project for?

This project is for manufacturing SMEs in the South of Scotland and will provide access to advanced manufacturing technologies through a group of innovation facilities.

The project will focus on supporting SMEs who have potential new products, to help develop them for market, upskilling the workforce, encouraging innovation, and attracting new businesses to the region.

A video has been produced to help people get a better idea of what the AIMS project is all about, which can be accessed here:

https://youtu.be/6SQTsSij97w

For more information, please visit: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/AIMS