East of England regional activity

Shoestring’s regional scoping pilot in the East of England launched in January in response to demand from local manufacturing companies.

Keen to see how companies could help drive a regional roll out of Shoestring, the Institute for Manufacturing is working closely with three companies – CamdenBoss, PIL Membranes and Warren Services – as well as a range of other stakeholders in the local manufacturing network. These include manufacturing groups such as NAAME (covering Norfolk and Suffolk), business development teams in the County and District Councils (such as the Economic Development team at Huntingdonshire District Council), FE Colleges and local Universities as well as other companies throughout the region.

During the Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring research project (2018-2022) of the 14 industry pilots run, three were with East of England companies, David Smith, Prima and PCML.

Regional events will help raise awareness of Shoestring and its benefits to manufacturers. On 8th February Shoestring held its first Sustainability Requirements workshop and its first group specification workshop on power monitoring. The latter will help shape future group specification workshops for Shoestring starter solutions, of which three – power monitoring, job tracking and temperature monitoring – are being released in March. Huntingdonshire District Council hosts a Shoestring Awareness workshop on 29th March in Alconbury Weald which, although primarily for manufacturers in the district, will have some availability for companies across Cambridgeshire.

Conversations are also underway with a range of FE Colleges and Universities to prepare for an interactive workshop in late March exploring how these educational institutes could help bring innovation into companies. Most importantly the workshop will look at how colleges and universities could use Shoestring’s resources to help them meet current challenges (such as funding goal, Ofsted ratings, student endpoint assessments) and help them provide digital skills to the future workforce, potentially equipping students and apprentices with the knowledge and confidence to join a company’s Shoestring team to help deploy low-cost digital solutions.

If you’d like to find out more about the East of England activity, please email Kate Price Thomas kijp2@cam.ac.uk.