Industry Forum

Published: 18/02/2021

So much has changed over the last year. Workforces and skills are transitioning, as are the ways in which we want to access training and development. We want to make sure Industry Forum training products are as closely aligned as possible to your needs and preferences.

We’d like to ask you a few questions about training at your organisation. It’ll only take 5 minutes, and as a thank you, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a £50 John Lewis voucher*!

Your answers will be treated strictly confidentially; neither you nor your organisation will be named.

If you have a question or a more detailed response to share, please do email Beth Osborne, General Manager – Marketing / CX on [email protected]

Competition Terms and Conditions: 
  1. There is no cash alternative.
  2. The prize is not transferable.
  3. The competition is not open to any employees of SMMT, TMO or SMMT Industry Forum or their direct family members including mother, father, sibling, child, grandparent, or partner.
  4. Only one entry per person, and entrance is dependent on the provision of a work email address. 
  5. Entry is via this survey only, which must include a completed survey submitted by 31st March 2021.
  6. The winners will be notified via email within fourteen days of the closing date of this survey (during April 2021).
  7. This competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom only.

IF has been selected by Birmingham City Council as a Strategic Training Partner in a new Supplier Skills Programme designed to upskill employees within Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the more developed areas of the Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) region.

The three-year programme aims to transform management expertise, workforce capability and capacity, while providing essential tools to help SMEs sustain their performance and productivity. Overall, the programme will upskill up to 7,030 new and existing employees by providing full qualifications level 1-7, or equivalent (including higher level management and leadership skills), units or a unit of qualification at basic level.

The £12 million Supplier Skills Programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund and offer training grants of between £500 and £18,000, match funding per SME.

IF CEO, Paul Heard, said, “IF is proud to be selected as a skills provider under this new scheme. We have longstanding trusted relationships with both national and local government, resulting in us providing DWP-approved vocational courses for redundant workers, accessible through the Job Centre Plus Rapid Response Service, through to being a delivery partner for the government’s flagship automotive and aerospace supply chain support programmes. We’re in tune with the needs of SMEs in the West Midlands and look forward to making a difference to the local economy as businesses recover following the impact of COVID-19.”

In a press release, Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, said: “This programme is key to improving business confidence, raising skills levels and enabling SMEs to recover during this challenging economic period following the impact of COVID-19. The programme will allow businesses to develop a ladder of progression for existing employees by increasing their skill levels and creating new opportunities for other employees.

“The Supplier Skills Programme will reduce the skills gap by ensuring greater alignment between the training needs of employees within SMEs and training providers. Moreover, it will complement existing national and regional provision. This new initiative will enhance the City’s existing SME business support activities across the Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership area.

Further information on the application process can be found on the Industry Forum website. The programme commences immediately. To be considered submit your completed application form before the closing date of 18 December 2020* 

IF joins Make UK, Creative Alliance, Kaplan Financial Services, Skills Training UK and Birmingham Adult Education Services (BAES) in helping to deliver the programme.

*SSP Funding Round 2 will open on 5 January 2021

SMMT Industry Forum has teamed up with HSSMI to offer a low cost series of 1/2 day technical boot camps, designed to teach delegates how to design, manufacture, build and run the production of the different primary elements of an electric vehicle’s (EV’s) powertrain.

The EV industry is on track to grow exponentially and it is vital that those involved in automotive manufacturing, and its surrounding industries keep their technical knowledge up-to-date to remain at the forefront of the industry. This series of boot camps is especially useful for anyone who has recently been made redundant, or is looking to move into the an EV industry position to help you stand out from the crowd in this emerging discipline.

The series, which costs just £150 per session, is aimed at engineers, project managers and commercial staff looking to build on their technical understanding of the subject, requires no existing knowledge.

The modules on offer:

Click below to add the Boot Camps to your basket and select the modules you wish to attend:

  • Up to £10,000 available per candidate for vocational and occupational training
  • Training can help differentiate candidates where hundreds are applying for limited roles
  • UK firms have cut around 730,0001 jobs during the pandemic
  • Redundancy figures set to rise after Coronavirus job retention scheme ends in October
  • Training expert, SMMT Industry Forum, advises advanced learning for transferable skills
BIRMINGHAM, September 10th 2020 – UK employers should play a leading role in directing redundant staff to the most suitable government-funded training courses, says Industry Forum, a training provider for manufacturing and supply chain businesses.

Free government training is available, according to certain criteria, for those made redundant from their jobs. This could be a vital boost to the estimated 730,0001 (and growing) workers who lost their jobs between March and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including those from some of the UK’s largest companies. The number of unemployed is expected to rise after the government’s furlough ends in October.

“Schemes such as the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service have offered vocational training for redundant workers for over a decade, and now have huge potential to facilitate the retraining of laid-off workers for new types of work in growth sectors,” explains Paul Heard, Chief Executive Officer at SMMT Industry Forum. “We are working with employers to identify specific courses by individual, that will lead the redundant to finding work as quickly as possible, often in different industries. Not only are employers best placed to recognise which qualifications match on-the-job experience, they have the industry, functional and local knowledge to highlight transferrable skills and to steer individuals towards growing sectors and certain types of vacancy.

“Most employers are keen to support their departing staff, but due to high employment rates over recent years, neither companies nor their workers have a particularly wide knowledge of the range of government-funded vocational and occupational training courses on offer. It’s time for industry to get involved by identifying skills gaps and advising on the best training,” continues Paul Heard.

“Those recently made redundant should look to different industries that are recruiting and which share similar skill sets. An example is electric vehicles, a developing area that is heavily reliant on highly skilled employees. This could present opportunities for hundreds of available and talented aerospace engineers, who Industry Forum can help train in EV battery technology. Another example is quality management where we are already seeing courses such as APQP and PPAP for automotive and aerospace attracting delegates from defence and wind energy,” says Heard.

Industry Forum has identified a number of its government-approved courses that are particularly well-suited to those wishing to enter the manufacturing environment for the first time, or who have experience in a manufacturing setting but are looking to apply for roles in a new sector. Most are available both remotely and face-to-face at Industry Forum’s purpose-built training facility in Birmingham. The courses cover general manufacturing essentials, leadership training for team leaders and manufacturing managers, automotive and aerospace quality management and industry standard certifications, and new technology courses e.g. in batteries and electric vehicles. For more information, follow:

The Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service training fund is among a list of support options accessed through local job centres. There are criteria to be met, such as whether the training is appropriate, has a clear job outcome focus and supports vacancies in the local market or potential vacancies in the occupational area. There is a different service if you’re in Scotland or Wales.

Notes to editors

1 Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of paid employees has fallen by 730,000 between March and July 2020.


“We are working with employers to identify specific courses by individual that will lead the redundant to finding work as quickly as possible, often in different industries,” says Paul Heard, Chief Executive Officer at SMMT Industry Forum.

UK employers should play a leading role in directing redundant staff to the most suitable government-funded training courses, says Industry Forum, a training provider for manufacturing and supply chain businesses.

Industry Forum has a number of its government-approved courses for those wishing to enter the manufacturing environment for the first time, or who have experience in a manufacturing setting but are looking to apply for roles in a new sector. Most are available both remotely and face-to-face at Industry Forum’s purpose-built training facility in Birmingham.



Media contacts

Propel Technology.

Laura Biss.
[email protected] Tel : 07813 736265

Claire Dumbreck.
[email protected]  Tel: 01295 770868 / Mob: 07768 773857



Are you the best you can be?

20% off Open Courses and Publications Until 30th September* Use Code: sumskills at the Checkout

“Unprecedented”, “unparalleled”, “extraordinary” – all words we are hearing on a daily basis. Many of us had never heard the word “furlough” before and it’s quickly become one of the most used words of the year. Think back to New Year’s Eve, and all you wished for the year ahead. Many of us dreamed of improving ourselves, be that losing weight, working out more, or improving our skills. No one could have anticipated the turn of events which followed; all of our best laid plans – kiboshed.

Make your year extraordinary for the right reasons

But, in true glass half full style, the year is only half done! We don’t have to give up on our aspirations and it’s no time to be complacent. As the challenges ahead of us compound, more people are applying for less jobs. You can protect yourself and make sure your CV demonstrates that you are the best you can be by finally achieving that qualification you have always aspired to hold. We are pleased to offer a number of options to support individuals during these difficult times as part of our Summer for Skills campaign.

20% off open courses and publications until 30th September 2020*

All open courses attended (in person or virtual) up to and including the 30th September 2020, are subject to a 20% discount by using code: sumskills at the checkout. This means you can enjoy our new virtual courses during your staycation or furlough, for less than ever before. For individuals funding the training themselves, we can look to provide flexible payment options.
NEW! Publications are now included in this Summer for Skills offer! To benefit from the discount on books, click here and use the code: sumskills at the checkout. 
  1. This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other offer or discount (SMMT member discount etc).
  2. Discount is only valid on open course bookings made after 17th July 2020 and attended by 30th September 2020 or publications purchased by the 30th September.
  3. To qualify for the courses discount, the first day of the course must be on or before 30th September 2020.
  4. Flexible payment terms on courses must be agreed prior to booking.

NMCL and SC21 C&G Programmes with Industry Forum

Many UK automotive and civil aerospace organisations are facing extraordinary challenges to survive, stabilise and thrive in the Post Covid marketplace. If you are an aerospace or automotive supplier (or a customer of these suppliers) there is a funded programme available to support you with industry approved expert providers. The programme will provide the companies involved with £50k – £200k+ of funding to access expertise and will match with time by the Beneficiaries. Funding must be used by March 2022.
The programme, jointly run by Industry Forum’s parent company, The SMMT and ADS, working together for industry, is known as National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) and SC21 Competitiveness and Growth (SC21 C&G) in the respective sectors. A short capability and customer competitiveness assessment leads to a bespoke implementation programme that supports your needs, with identified business targets and project charters aligned to improvement ‘modules’. Following funding approval, you can then select the providers from the approved list who are the best fit for your organisation to support delivery. The providers you select will then work with you and together to deliver your programme.
Industry Forum is delighted have a long association with the programme, supporting supply chain competitiveness, having led the development of the assessment on behalf of SMMT. Industry Forum also trained the wider Assessor group. We are one of the approved providers, able to support module implementation across the automotive and aerospace sector due to our unrivaled knowledge of the improvement modules. There is no organisation with more in-house capability and experience of the programme or better suited to support you on your journey to improved competitiveness.
Already in the Scheme?

Only when an organisation provides the Lead Assessor role to a company, can they not be a delivery provider to that company. This rule does not apply to the Master Assessor (training others) or Assistant Assessor roles. If Industry Forum was a Master assessor or Assistant Assessor, we are able to provide implementation delivery. Please contact us to discuss how we can support you in getting the most from your journey.


Final Note: Please don’t assume your leadership team are aware of this scheme – please do forward to anyone who could benefit!

SMMT Industry Forum is pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Sadler to the position of General Manager for Automotive. Richard joins us with over 15 years of Tier One automotive manufacturing and supply chain experience. Having started his career as an Apprentice, he soon went on to hold leadership positions in Production Planning, Purchasing, Engineering and Manufacturing. Richard’s last role was Operations Director of an Automotive Tier One, serving multiple OEMs both in the UK and overseas.

Chris Owen, CEO of SMMT Industry Forum said, “Over the years, Richard has developed solid relationships and an outstanding reputation across the automotive industry, with both OEMs and supply chain companies. Richard’s structured, fact-based and logical management style is an excellent fit with the Industry Forum culture. I find him to be an impressive, energetic and innovative leader and have every confidence he will make a very positive contribution to the future success of Industry Forum.”

Richard Sadler said, “I am delighted to join Industry Forum as General Manager for the Automotive sector, although it has not been the start I expected, joining as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At Industry Forum, we have been able to adapt smoothly and continue to operate. This is a challenging time for the economy, especially the Automotive Industry and I know that with the background and capabilities of the Industry Forum team, we will play a key part in driving it back to where it should be.”

If you would like to discuss with Richard how Industry Forum can support with training and support, he can be contacted via email or call: +44 (0)7971 284319.

Manufacturers are urged to use this time to upskill teams, increase business competitiveness and prepare for post-Coronavirus opportunities

  • Employees can continue to train while being paid under the government furlough scheme1
  • A quarter2 is already turning to online training to improve knowledge and job security
  • UK manufacturers are urged to upskill and “get fit” to compete for new business in post-Covid diversified supply chains
  • Industry Forum launches new virtual training courses

BIRMINGHAM – June 9th 2020 – A lack of job security has led to a quarter2 (24%) of the UK workforce to turn to online courses to learn new skills or expand current knowledge during the Coronavirus, according to a recent survey by The Open University.  

The research found that half (49%) of all current UK workers have been affected by uncertainty; and five million (14%)3 expect the pandemic to have dramatically changed the skills required to fulfil their roles by the time they return to work. Survey participants also urged employers to give direction as to which courses are best to ensure new skills become valued assets.

Industry Forum – the UK’s only JIPM certified consultancy for Total Productive Maintenance – has reacted to the current working environment by launching virtual, instructor-led courses as well as a range of self-directed, online ‘e-learning’ modules.

A number of Industry Forum’s most popular training courses are now available remotely. The instructor-led courses have been adapted to make them interactive and engaging when delivered digitally, and to provide full certification.

“The post-Coronavirus redesign of global supply chains to become more diversified will bring new opportunities for UK manufacturers. The winning companies will have skilled workforces that are adept at using technology and switching to new ways of working. With the latest launch of courses, delivered by our top experts, Industry Forum is continuing its drive to deliver relevant, world-class training across every manufacturing discipline,” says Paul Heard, CEO at Industry Forum.

The following courses are available immediately via

Virtual, instructor led courses:

Manufacturing Operations

New Product Introduction and Life Cycle Management

Supply chain Management 

‘E-learning’, self-directed online modules:

In addition to these courses which are suitable for any manufacturing sector business, Industry Forum also offers a number of automotive and aerospace-specific courses digitally. 

Recent research showed that 54% prefer to learn at the point of need (to have the option to learn what they want when they want), 94% prefer to learn at their own speed and 78% are excited to use technology for learning. The benefits for employers, include proactive use of current downtime, reduction in the effort and cost of learning, as well as admin involved in trying to manage large numbers of employees into the same room at the same time. 

Industry Forum helps major global manufacturers understand, optimise and improve both manufacturing capability and business performance. Over 250 organisations in 30 countries trust Industry Forum to deliver and maintain sustainable improvement.


SMMT Industry Forum has launched virtual, instructor-led courses as well as a range of self-directed, online ‘e-learning’ modules for people working in any manufacturing sector.
SMMT Industry Forum is the UK’s only JIPM certified consultancy for Total Productive Maintenance.
“The post-Coronavirus redesign of global supply chains to become more diversified will bring new opportunities for UK manufacturers. The winning companies will have skilled workforces that are adept at using technology and switching to new ways of working,” says Paul Heard, CEO at Industry Forum.


Last Update: 30 July 2021

Visitor and External Premises COVID-19 Policy



We have undertaken COVID-19 risk assessments for all our operations. In line with government guidelines, we are in a phased return to work where our team will be working either at home, at our office and at client premises. Please be assured that our email and phonelines continue to be monitored and we are responding to enquires during our usual office hours of 8:30am – 4-30pm. We are continuing to offer customers support virtually where practical. Where this is not practical please see the following guidance in relation to i) visitors attending the SMMT IF offices and ii) our staff working on external premises.

Visitor Policy (IF Office, Birmingham)

We are operating in line with the latest Government guidance on social distancing. We ask that you be mindful that others may still be adjusting to the changes within social distancing or may need to minimise their exposure risk and who would therefore wish to continue to maintain a 2m distance.

Staff and visitors that are attending the office or moving about for work are strongly encouraged to take a government provided Lateral Flow test twice per week and report the results as required.

People may choose to wear a face covering if they wish to do so.

You are also encouraged to check in on our QR code when entering the building

You MUST NOT attend the office if you have recent onset of any symptoms of coronavirus such as;

    • A new continuous cough
    • A high temperature
    • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, OR you have received a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, the clear medical advice is to immediately self-isolate at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 symptoms which can be arranged by contacting the NHS, here.

You should consider alerting anyone you have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19. If close contacts include people you have interacted with on SMMT IF premises or SMMT IF staff members, please inform the SMMT IF Health and Safety Officer Leanne Brend.

Please do not attend the office if:

    • You are directed to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace Service.
    • You have travelled from a country which requires you to quarantine in the last 14 days prior to attendance on site.
    • You have travelled from a country where you are required to self-isolate on arrival and this period has not yet expired.

 Attending the SMMT IF Office and Learning Centre

Attendance at the SMMT IF Office and Learning Centre must be pre-agreed with your host or via booking a training course; please do not turn up unannounced. You may be asked to arrive at certain times so we can respect social distancing on entry to the office. Please try to adhere to your time wherever possible. If you are unable to meet your slot or are running late, please contact the office on +44 (0)121 717 6600.

On arrival at the SMMT IF Office and Learning Centre, we advise all visitors to check in on our QR code when entering the building. There is also a hygiene station which we encourage you to use throughout the day. Throughout the building there are hygiene stations at strategic points e.g. on entrance to Learning Centre, in break out areas. We advise wearing additional clothing layers in cooler weather as windows and doors may be opened to allow fresh air circulation.

We will be limiting the number of people attending training courses on site to ensure we can maintain government guidelines. Delegates will be allocated a table for the duration of the training. Additional training rooms have been opened where possible to allow for social distancing for those still adjusting to the changes during your breaks. Cleaning wipes are placed by communal refreshment points.

If you have any concerns, please let your host know and they will contact the appropriate member of staff to discuss your concerns with you.

Our staff working on Customer and other external sites

In line with Government advice, activities may take place in person or virtually. Site based activities can only take place subject to national and regional restrictions. No international site activity is currently possible but may be conducted virtually. Any agreed onsite activity will require agreed COVID secure processes to be completed, agreed by the client and IF.

IF Requirements for Working on Customer Premises:

  1. The client must demonstrate they have processes in place to protect against COVID in line with current guidelines and they are adhered to. See below for further information on these.
  2. Activity can only take place in enclosed meeting rooms where there is ventilation
  3. Please respect our consultant’s wishes if they choose to maintain social distancing and/or wear face coverings

Our staff are instructed not to attend company sites if they have COVID-19 symptoms and are instructed to be tested in line with government guidelines. Our staff will not attend customer and other external sites if they are directed to self-isolate as a result of NHS Test and Trace and may also be self-isolating if contacted by the Covid app.

We will inform the company if a member of staff who has attended their site subsequently has symptoms of, or is confirmed to have, COVID-19. This will be undertaken in line with PHE guidelines.

Prior to agreeing to attend customer and other external sites we will request to see your COVID-19 policies and procedures in place.

Our staff are instructed to comply with all the COVID-19 arrangements of the site they are attending including hygiene and social distancing measures.

Our staff are supplied with anti-bac products and face coverings, should they choose to wear them.

Our staff who are travelling on work related reasons are encouraged to regularly use lateral flow tests to minimise risk.



Visitor and External Premises Co-vid 19 Policy                                             Rev 7.0 (23/07/2021)

Global MMOG/LE has been developed jointly by Odette and AIAG as a unique Supply Chain Management (SCM) capability assessment tool that can be used throughout the global automotive industry, as well as across other industry sectors. Since Version 1 was launched in 2003, the tool has been regularly updated to take account of the latest developments in SCM.

A global team representing Odette and AIAG developed Global MMOG/LE Version 5 (V5) to ensure that the constant evolution in supply chain processes, logistics and communications technology, IT security and related audit standards are incorporated in to the standard.

Global MMOG/LE V5, released for use from 2nd July 2019, will quickly become the required standard for self-assessment by automotive suppliers. It incorporates several key new additions, such as expecting companies to have a risk management process in place to ensure continuity of supplies when the organisation is required to deviate from normal operations, and cyber security practices to ensure company data is secure both internally and with third party partners, and especially whilst in transit.

Customers will be announcing their V4 to V5 migration plans over the coming months, giving suppliers sufficient time to ensure that their operations can meet the new standard, as V5 will quickly become the norm for self-assessment of automotive supplier sites across the world.

Another important development is that the Global MMOG/LE V5 assessment will not be published as an Excel workbook, and will only be available through the application.

Release 1 of was launched in September 2018, incorporating the MMOG/LE V4 assessment catalogue. It is already being used by many supplier sites and early adopters are able to submit assessments prepared in

The application includes all the functionalities found in the Excel workbook but also offers additional features expected from a state of the art IT tool (such as audit trail, user access management, data security, multi-language etc.) and is flexible enough to be used by large corporations, as well as smaller organisations.

Release 2 of is now available and includes a number of enhancements, the most significant of which are:

• a secure internal email system to facilitate the exchange of MMOG/LE assessments and feedback between suppliers and customers;
• the inclusion of the recently approved MMOG/LE V5 catalogue. release 2 allows the use of both the MMOG/LE V4 catalogue and MMOG/LE V5 catalogue. Using now to complete a V4 assessment will save you time and costs when you need to start using V5.

SMMT Industry Forum staff participated in the global development team throughout the process and are ideally positioned to support Global MMOG/LE users through the transition to V5. For more information, contact us at [email protected] or phone us on +44 121 717 6600 to speak to one of our experts.

Want to know more? Industry Forum offers essentials training for awareness, and practitioner training for those tasked with completing the assessments: 

MMOG/LE Version 5 is now available.

Explore downloading and licensing options for the assessment tool on Odette’s website

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