Supporting businesses in the North where it counts

As Regional Development Directors in the North for Lloyds Bank, Natalie Boswell and Carla Yearsley are fully aware of the key challenges businesses face across the region.

Recognising that businesses can’t afford to stand still in an ever-competitive environment, and with a tight labour market and an increased demand for skilled labour, Lloyds Bank has extended its collaboration with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to the end of 2029, with a total of £15m sponsorship.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre

We’ve worked in partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) since 2015 to develop the skills, research and technological innovations the manufacturing sector has needed to compete on a global scale.

Natalie Boswell, Regional Development Director, North East,

Businesses in the North can benefit from a range of services to accelerate business performance.

The MTC has trained and upskilled more than 2,500 engineers, graduates and apprentices during the initial eight years of the partnership, and with our additional funding aims to reach over 5,000 by 2030.

Not only will the extension allow more emerging talent to be upskilled, but we are also supporting the development of a new programme for manufacturers nationwide to access a bespoke Sustainability Review with MTC expertise.

Sustainability Review

As well as directly assisting manufacturers to improve quality, cost and delivery performance, the experienced team now also aim to improve a company’s sustainability credentials.

The new Sustainability Review is available nationwide to manufacturers who will work directly with an MTC
expert to assess the business and identify priorities to address on the path to Net Zero.

This complements the existing SME Manufacturing Support Service, where businesses are offered a line walk to understand their manufacturing challenges, and are encouraged to embrace the latest technology to improve productivity.

Both programmes are free, and once either programme is completed, there is an optional extensive range of further support for which discounts can be accessed via the Innovate UK Reach funding for SMEs.

Carla Yearsley, Regional Development Director, North West,

Around 500 businesses have taken advantage of the Manufacturing Support Service to date, including 100 that have utilised further support programmes to embed innovation and new ways of working into their operations.

The service has delivered around £5m in additional benefits to businesses through increased revenues, reduced costs and profit growth.

Improving productivity

Although Natalie and Carla are pleased to be seeing the benefits that this partnership is bringing to manufacturing businesses in the North, they are not alone.

Bradford-based Flexiform has manufactured high quality office furniture, storage and seating for over 40 years.

They worked with the MTC to increase operational capacity by 40% without expanding site footprint, leading to
improvements in productivity and reduced lead times by 245%.

Nick Hewitt, Managing Director, Flexiform, said: “I found the MTC invaluable in this process, guiding us, educating us and keeping us true to our goals at all times. I would highly recommend all business leaders to take time out, engage with the MTC, and carry out a VSM exercise.”

If you would like to know more about how your manufacturing business could benefit from the MTC partnership, or how Lloyds Bank’s regional development team could support your ambitions, please contact Natalie or Carla directly.



Invest North is being led by, in partnership with Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Squire Patton Boggs, Phoenix Group, and Lloyds Bank. It is also being supported by the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Curveblock and Influential.

Through a series of round tables, research and interviews it will identify the investment opportunities and policy requirements that can make a significant difference to the economy of the North.

Visit to find out more.