Productivity through People

The Productivity through People course is an immersive form of business learning

Encouraging SME leaders to step outside of their workplace to think about their business differently and reflect on current practices is one of the founding principles of our Productivity through People programme.

This 12-month programme provides SME leaders access to the latest techniques, thinking and research to transform their businesses’ productivity and working practices.

Facilitated through four UK universities, Bath University Management School, Lancaster University Management School, Aston Business School and University of Strathclyde (with two additional academic institutions joining in 2019), the programme has been specifically designed to help business leaders meet the productivity challenge and drive improvements in their firms.

The programme provides an interesting mix of classroom learning and being pragmatic, with firms receiving advice and site visits from relevant industry leaders.

In addition to meeting and learning from industry leaders, course attendees build peer networks to help them work together to solve challenges and meet opportunities.

The aim of the entire programme is to help these businesses to unlock enhanced productivity and growth for their business. Chris Blades, a Lancaster Productivity through People graduate, created large savings and new opportunities for his business throughout the duration of the course, read his story here.

Find out what alumni have taken away from the Productivity through People programme

Spencer Fereday, director at Mann Williams

Mann Williams has used a number of initiatives to address productivity, but Spencer Fereday feels that Productivity Through People’s focus on what he calls “the people side” is what differentiates it.

“Very rarely do you get the chance to look at how you apply some of the soft skills to the people, to make all of us more productive, from management down to everybody else in the practice,” he explained.

“There are a wide range of organisations who work across the engineering and manufacturing industries and we all come together we all discuss it and what we find is it’s about people, understanding the people and other problems that surround that.”

Like other participants, Fereday feels the course has given him an increased appreciation of the importance of listening to one’s fellow employees.

“What I really take back from the course is to sit down, talk to, listen and embrace the ideas and concerns that come from people in the workforce.

“It’s about taking on board their ideas and thoughts and then blending them with yours to really push yourselves forward. The win from this is better working as a team. If you’re better as a team, you will deliver and the people you’re working with will enjoy working.”

Jim McKechnie, principal engineer at Supacat

Jim McKechnie isn’t the only employee from his company on the Productivity through People course at Bath, and he thinks having a group of colleagues on the same programme will help to embed changes in the business, with the aim of making it more competitive and keeping costs low.

“With a group of us, we we can work together and get some of those changes that are quite hard to get through businesses normally through and see the productivity improvements at the end of it,” he explained.

“I’m hoping that the gain is in several areas from the business point of view – it means we’re a stronger business, we’re more competitive in the marketplace and we can look into other markets and compete, and just get a better foundation for the work that we typically do but also in those new markets.”

Hear directly from four Productivity through People alumni through their video interviews



Find out more about Productivity through People in Bath.

Find out more about Productivity through People in Lancaster.

Find out more about Productivity through People in Strathclyde.

Find out more about Productivity through People in Aston.

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