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    NAA Update: Light at the end of the tunnel

    Welcome to this month’s newsletter and I hope that you are all keeping well.

    It’s good to finally see some light at the end of the tunnel with the Prime Minister’s recently announced government roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England…

    The COVID-19 outbreak has had a seismic effect on the economy, and particularly in the area of apprenticeships, where some apprentices have been made redundant without completing their apprenticeships, while others are at risk of redundancy. To help these apprentices the Department for Education have recently launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices. To find out how you can strengthen your organisation by recruiting an apprentice, please see the article later in the e-news.

    The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement continues to present challenges, particularly in relation to the shipping of goods. With this in mind, this bulletin issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, provides the latest information for businesses.

    Elsewhere, the NAA has engaged with Liverpool City Region LEP and business leaders across the region to support their successful bid to create a Freeport for the North West of England, that will create a multi-gateway, multi-modal Freeport that will enable key sites across the Liverpool City Region to attract new investment, create jobs, support the wider economy and increase levels of innovation, including in our sector.

    Further business support opportunities are currently available and include the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN), which is launching an R&D funding competition on 15 March – full details can be found later in the e-news.

    The Niche Vehicle Network is also holding a Zero Emission Ambulance – Market Engagement Event as this newsletter is due to be issued (10 March).  The NHS is committed to reducing its direct emissions by 80% by 2028-2032, becoming the world’s first net zero National Health Service by 2040. Reducing carbon emissions from its own vehicle fleet will be crucial in achieving this – to support this commitment the NHS is planning to develop a number of zero emission, lightweight, more accessible ambulance prototypes – full details can be found later in the e-news.

    The Advanced Propulsion Centre has also re-opened its Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP) for expressions of interest. TDAP supports SMEs, whether start-ups or more mature organisations, which have early-stage transport or mobility technology and want to accelerate their route to market. If you are developing a novel zero-emission enabling automotive technology, product or service you could benefit from £135,000 in match funding, support with strategy and business model development, mentoring and opportunities to extend your network in the automotive industry. To find out more about TDAP and what this programme can do for your business click here.

    The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) is hosting two webinars in March. The first is “Transitioning towards Zero Emission Vehicles by 2030” on 12 March, where it will be joined by Innovate UK, and an update will be provided on the government’s zero emission R&D programme and future funding opportunities – full details here. On the 23 March, in the “Zero Emission Road Freight: Enabling a Future Large Scale Demonstration – Funding Competition / Competition Briefing Webinar”, the KTN will be joined by Innovate UK who will provide details of a multi-million pound competition for the demonstration of zero emission road freight – full details here

    SMMT will be hosting Meet the Buyer digitally on 20 May 2021 – This year they will be delivering Meet the Buyer in an online format in order to provide the same meeting experience while in-person events are not viable.  For more information and to express your interest, click here

    Lancaster University’s Management School is offering manufacturing businesses across the North West the opportunity to learn from industry giants in a programme designed to boost productivity across the sector. Find out more about the “Productivity through People” programme here

    On the membership front, I would like to welcome new NAA member, Liberty Aluminium Technologies, based in Coventry. Liberty Aluminium Castings and Liberty Pressing Solutions manufacture a range of components for automotive OEMs, either directly or as a supplier to major Tier 1s – we will hear more from them in a future e-news.

    Following our very successful pilot New Members’ Roundtable late last year, we held our first Roundtable for existing members on 2 March. The event was very well received and provided a great opportunity to catch up directly with a number of you as well as enabling you to network with other members from the convenience of your own office / home. We plan to continue with this format going forward, with all members receiving an invitation to an event of this type during the course of the year.

    Our webinar programme continues, with the most recent events having covered: “Electrifying the NAA”, hosted by the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC); “The Power of the Digital Twin for the Automotive Supply Chain”, hosted by Siemens, and “Funding to Enhance Competitiveness in the Automotive Supply Chain”, hosted by NMCL. If you missed any of these webinars, please see our event reviews later in the e-news.

    Coming up next week on 18 March we have a Virtual Marketing Clinic for NAA Members, where together with resident experts from our membership we will examine how you can boost promotion of your business through website, video and social media techniques – full details can be found here

    On a training note, we have a “virtual” 2-day IATF 16949:2016 Internal Auditor Course scheduled for 26 and 27 April (places are limited) – full details can be found here

    Elsewhere in this month’s newsletter, you can read about some of the latest developments from a selection of our member companies, including Langen Motorcycles, Leyland Trucks and Senseye.

    Finally, as always, if you need us please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Stay safe.
    Paul Jones

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham