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MAN Group builds Midlands’s business leaders through pioneering new programme with WMG

Left to right John and Phil Rowley (SMT Developments)Six senior managers from the UK’s Midlands Assembly Network (MAN) are among the first to complete a new Innovation Business Leadership (IBL) postgraduate programme at WMG, University of Warwick designed to create new Midlands’s business leaders who can bring significant benefits to their businesses.

The IBL programme is a unique postgraduate education programme, delivered through five three-day modules. It covers: strategy and innovation; leading and managing talent; operational efficiency; financial and commercial awareness; and sales, marketing and reputation management.

Individuals from Brandauer, Advanced Chemical Etching, Barkley Plastics, SMT Developments and Alucast are already putting what they have learned on the Innovation Business Leadership postgraduate programme into practice by exploring new technologies, implementing a host of process improvement measures and creating employee development schemes.

The first new business leaders to complete the programme include:

  • John Swift and Martin Haynes of Alucast, one of the UK’s leading aluminium casting companies. This has played a key role in the firm securing the automotive global quality accreditation TS16949 that will put it in line to tender for £5m of additional automotive work every year. “Putting this system in place is very time consuming so we needed to have a strategy in place that utilised the skills of our staff so we could meet our target of achieving a successful audit within one year,” says Martin Haynes, Group Quality Manager. “There is no doubt the IBL programme has been beneficial in delivering clearer thinking and giving us an idea on how we can not only secure TS16949, but actually make the most of it both operationally and commercially.”

  • John Rowley from contract electronics firm SMT Developments recently announced his promotion to managing director at the business. He attributes his success to some of the things he had learnt over the course of the year and has developed a number of new ideas for how to take the business forward. He said ““The Innovation Business Leadership opened my eyes to a range of new technologies and innovative tools that we can use to create new products and services at SMT. It has helped me realise the great potential the business has. I also met some fantastic people from other sectors that have been extremely inspirational.”

  • Theresa Williams, finance director at precision pressings company Brandauer who is now pioneering a new mentoring scheme for other managers at Brandauer.

Tony Hague, chairman of MAN said:

“It is imperative that MAN stays ahead of the curve with the most forward thinking management training and research knowledge. Working with WMG on this leadership programme has allowed us to do that.”

Dr Barry Winter, course director at WMG said:

“Our programme isn’t just about the classroom learning. The programme offers the participants the ability to network with others, attend technology demonstrations and hear from guest speakers that have implemented innovative new practices in their businesses.“

“Santander Corporate and Commercial was so confident of the programme benefits that they agreed to part fund the first cohort of 16 participants from 14 different SMEs and offered them the opportunity to attend Breakthrough master classes as part of the course. “

“Throughout my career I have developed and analysed many business theories and models that have the potential to transform the productivity and performance of small businesses, but they rarely see the light of day in SME management practice. This programme has brought this theory to life, combining both academic rigour with practical application. We have been inspired by the results of the course and are delighted that the MAN group have noted so many benefits already.”

 Note for editors: 

WMG, University of Warwick is currently recruiting SME leaders for the next IBL programme, which starts in October. For more information visit:

All of the companies within MAN are world-leading manufacturers and have agreed to work together in a formal collaboration, offering access to every aspect of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering processes imaginable:

For enquiries about WMG, University of Warwick contact:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy, University of Warwick
Tel UK: 024 76523708
mobile: 07767 655860


Lisa Barwick, Head of Marketing and Communications, WMG, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845 email:

For enquiries about the MAN Group contact:

Russ Cockburn, Cucumber Public Relations Ltd
Mob: 07812 600271 email:

For enquiries about Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking contact:

Chris Hallam Mob: 07803 376981

PR410 24th September 2015