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Unlocking Innovation: How Free Business Support is Fuelling Technology Adoption in the West Midlands

Exciting changes are happening at Birmingham Metropolitan (BMet) College and across the broader educational environment in West Midlands. We are embarking on an ambitious journey to promote regional business innovation. I am delighted to announce that I have recently been appointed the position of Innovation Manager at BMet College, overseeing a pioneering £2.4 million investment fund focused on revolutionising how local SMEs adopt digital technologies and promote innovation within their sectors. The initiative and funding were developed in collaboration with the West Midlands Combined Authority and Innovate UK, specifically tailored for Further Education Colleges. Find out more about the fund and its objectives, Click here.

The initiative marks a significant milestone for our the West Midlands positioning Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry, and Warwickshire as hotbeds of innovation, delivering cross collaborative services in partnership with six regional further education colleges.

The six partner colleges across Birmingham include:

Fircroft College: Supporting SMEs in their use of technology and digital adaptation for businesses exploring sustainability objectives and goals.

Heart of Worcestershire College – Business Support Services – focusing on providing modular training to support SMEs to improve digital capability for current staff, particularly in high-risk sectors such as cybersecurity and sustainability.

South and City College Birmingham – Construction and Future Housing – developing responsive skills plans supporting businesses with new low carbon skills specifically focused on smart grid technologies, project management, sustainable construction, manufacturing methods, and energy data systems.

Solihull University College and GBSIOT: Advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0 developing models of resourcing which facilitate local SME employers to develop capacity to design, implement, and sustain industry 4.0 technologies within their existing staff teams.

University College Birmingham: Supporting innovation within adaptation of FESTO Industry 4.0, supporting construction SMEs with innovation adaptation through the Sustainable Construction Sector, business support services e.g., cyber.

BMet: Dental sector, supporting SMEs to upskill current staff on AI-led technology to improve customer journey and experience through bringing more accurate diagnosis and patient care, Tele-dentistry consultations, and VR all to improve patient care and experience. Business support services, e.g., cyber (cross sector).

A project of this scale focuses on driving real and impactful change for local businesses, boosting productivity, and fostering regional economic growth. This initiative is particularly meaningful to me because it represents a unique opportunity to make a tangible difference in our community. My passion for progressive change and disruptive innovation has been shaped by my diverse experiences across the music industry, media, big tech, and government. Throughout my career, I have honed the ability to create and build strategies, identify trends and signals, pivot and learn, dismantle, rebuild, rebrand and adapt—all by embracing cutting-edge technologies and fostering innovation.

By enhancing the skills and capabilities of our workforce, we are ensuring that the West Midlands remains a competitive and dynamic region and truly believe this initiative will bridge the gap between education and industry, providing practical solutions and support that can lead to long-term success for businesses and economic resilience for the area. I am thrilled to be part of this transformative journey and look forward to witnessing the positive impact it will have on our region.


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