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Research and development: should it be a priority for my business?


Steve Gledhill, Project Manager at Pera Training, explains why investing in Research and Development (R&D) should be a key priority for organisations operating in manufacturing sectors.

With the UK continuing to experience a period of economic uncertainty, businesses remain under considerable pressure to reduce their costs ever further. However, despite the economic challenges, businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector, should avoid the temptation to reduce their expenditure on R&D, which, by its very nature, is vital to ensuring manufacturers’ future viability.

The contrasts that exist in terms of R&D investment, even by businesses in the same sector, is alarming.

In my experience, those companies that make R&D a key priority are, almost without exception, more dynamic, more forward-focused and, ultimately, more profitable in the longer term. Being thought-leaders, even in a small business sphere, empowers employees to aim further than their more introspective competitors.

So why don’t all businesses make the most of the advantage R&D can bring? All too frequently employers blame their absence of focus on R&D not only on cost but on a dearth of staff with the necessary training and experience with which to drive meaningful R&D projects.

To address this ‘skills gap’, Pera Training, in conjunction with a number of other organisations, has worked to develop the UK’s first vocational manufacturing related R&D qualification. The qualification is designed for businesses looking either to enter existing employees on to the course or development of new staff recruited into roles across R&D/New Product Development. Crucially, the programme ensures that trainees are provided with the progressive skills necessary to provide their organisation with meaningful R&D knowledge and skills.

With respect to the cost implications for businesses of taking on apprentices, studies  show that over half felt they benefitted from lower recruitment costs, whilst almost two thirds experienced lower overall training costs, thanks to their apprenticeship programmes.

Apprenticeships have also been shown to drive commercial success, with 80% of businesses with an apprenticeship programme saying it makes them more competitive in their industry than they would otherwise be.

The opportunity for innovation and thought-leadership is now one step easier. All it requires is to give individuals the chance to contribute to a businesses’ creative process.

We know young people in particular are those with all the ideas. Take a look at Google – the current global king of innovation – their average employee is aged just 29!

Pera Training is located in Melton Mowbray and provides apprenticeships throughout the UK. For further information, see

For more information on the UK’s first R&D Apprenticeship, visit:

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