NAAME’s annual conference, Ingenuity, took place on the 19th February at East Coast College 

A global survey conducted in 2019 revealed that 97% of employers recognise the benefits of wellbeing programmes and acknowledge how they can assist in tackling management of anxiety, stress, and work life balance concerns. A major 17 million working days are lost due mental health conditions alone. Updates in the manufacturing and engineering sectors – including the rise of industry 4.0, digitalisation and a distinct skills shortage – has prompted businesses to switch their priorities. Where once profit ruled above all, industry leaders are beginning to recognise that without addressing the wellbeing, mental health and positive engagement of their staff, their organisation cannot grow.  

However, with only 26% of UK firms currently implementing wellbeing programmes in their workplace, uptake of these changes appears to be slow. One barrier to improving employee engagement and transforming the culture of an organisation could be that business just don’t know where to start. Afterall, there is more to introducing a wellbeing and cultural overhaul to a business than simply leaving it all to the HR department. For real results, change must come from within the very heart of the organisation and quality leadership is key to this.

The New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (NAAME) – recognised New Anglia LEP sector group, hosted their annual conference, Ingenuity 2020 on the 19th February at the new Energy Skills Centre at East Coast college, Lowestoft Campus. The event was coordinated by Hethel Innovation in conjunction with East Coast College and addressed the above challenges faced by the industry.

Over 100 delegates attended on the day with over 70 businesses from the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector, but also across sectors. The event focused on putting people at the forefront of manufacturing, looking into key methods and innovative principles to help nurture and identify talent, create a culture of diversity as well as establishing a more productive workforce.

The day-long event entailed a range of talks tackling the challenges and skills shortages the manufacturing, engineering and energy sector are currently facing from the likes of Johnathan Reynold of Opergy Ltd and Berry M&H. All the way through to the introduction of flexible working conditions and well-being programmes from national bodies such as ‘Make UK’ and marketing agency ‘flocc’ who have adopted ‘Lagom’ – a flexible working approach including six hour working days.

The event also tackled three workshops from leading training providers in the region tackling communication in business, effective leadership and moving to a high-performance work culture delivered by Alpha Inclusion and Communication, Turning Factor and Birketts.

Attendees were able to leave the event with some intriguing, innovative and thought-provoking principles to see how Norfolk and Suffolk businesses can boost their productivity and staff retention. Make UK state that 90% of manufacturers have seen a boost in productivity by investing in people – Lets hope the event inspired local businesses to put people first!

Jamie Thums, Chairman of NAAME said “In too many instances, UK business has failed to keep pace with its international peers in terms of leadership & people management.  However, this is changing!  The NAAME Ingenuity conference showcased best practice & provided an engaging forum to learn & discuss techniques that unlock ‘people power’.  Many thanks to everyone who supported the event, including the plethora of first-class speakers & exhibitors.  The narrative, presentations & workshops were all richly thought-provoking & provided a blueprint to help fuel productivity.  Watch this space for the next event!”

A massive thanks to all of our sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and panellists. Please see the full list of exhibitors below:

  • Alpha Inclusion and Communication
  • Welton Energy
  • Institute for Manufacturing (IfM)
  • Indigo Swan
  • Cassandra Andrews
  • Myworkhive
  • Birketts
  • Turning Factor