Centric was proud to host the 7th Regional Supply Chain Network event on Thursday 2nd November 2023.

The event brought together leading businesses across the Barrow and Furness area. Held in their newly refurbished meeting and event space, the event was the perfect opportunity to showcase the space and Centric’s services to the wider community. Centric has been championing business in the area for over 30 years, so it made sense for Centric to host this event. In fact, we even wrote recently about why Barrow Means Business.

Local Business Steering Group

The event was organised by a local business steering group that includes BAE Systems, Steel Dynamics, Forth UK, NW Total, Cumbria Profiling, Bender UK, Oxley Developments, Furness Fluid Power, CIPS South Lakeland Branch, and Cumbria LEP.


Regional Supply Chain Network Barrow and Furness

Regional Supply Chain Network

The Group’s Mission

  • To provide a local professional network: Provide a supportive infrastructure for effectively sharing information and collaborating
  • Contribute to upskilling the local region and developing local businesses. Provide a forum which actively contributes to and facilitates the sharing of knowledge and experience
  • To develop relationships between local businesses: Encourage relationship building and facilitate a better understanding of local businesses’ needs and challenges, such that group priorities and activities can be ‘tailored’ to respond to these.
  • To promote representation, visibility, and engagement of the supply chain, procurement, and material management in the local area: Encourage better understanding and enhance the profile of the opportunities locally

A recent survey by the Regional Supply Chain Network identified four key business challenges:

As a result, the network identified actions that could be implemented to support the local business community in overcoming these challenges.

These included:

  • Working with BAE to support recruitment throughout the sub-tier supply chain
  • Upskilling businesses on how to write a bid
  • Leverage learning from other networks and being aware of funding opportunities
  • Working with training providers to ensure qualifications are fit for purpose and relevant.

The Agenda 

The packed agenda include:

  • 12:00 – Lunch/Networking
  • 12:30 – RSCN Objectives and Key Focus Areas: Cindy Kendall
  • 12:35 – Centric Intro/Housekeeping
  • 12:40 – Recruitment Support: BAE Digital Skills Bootcamp: Leigh Furlong from BAE Systems, Social Impact Team
  • 13:00 – Bid Writing Training Overview: Geoff Yale Consultancy
  • 14:00 – Grant Funding Available: Sarah Woodhams, ‘Made Smarter’
  • 14:30 – Feedback Forms and Finish


Development of Procurement Skills Bootcamps

According to the Regional Supply Chain Network Survey and events, supply chain issues have been identified as one of the main challenges organisations face. The challenges include a lack of skills in sourcing, tendering, negotiation, contracting, and managing suppliers and sub-contractors. Collaboration, sharing good practises, learning from others, and ‘buddying up’ have been suggested as possible interventions to support organisations across the network.

A procurement skills boot camp would be a positive step to meet the needs and one that the RSCN would endorse and promote.



BAE Systems Submarines Social Impact: Digital Skills Bootcamp

BAE presented a very informative talk on the government’s initiative to upskill people across the UK.

What are DfE Bootcamps?

Skills Bootcamps are a government-funded initiative to upskill and reskill thousands of people across the country in tech skills that are in high demand.

Skills Bootcamps are flexible courses lasting up to 16 weeks with a guaranteed job interview (where a candidate is being recruited for a new job or opportunities), which equip adults with skills that enable them to access in-demand jobs and apprenticeships, leading to increased income and productivity over time.


How do they work?

  1. QA’s solution is to attract diverse talent from the Barrow in Furness community by working with local SMEs, charity partners, job centres, and education partners 
  2. Enrol candidates in a fully funded 12-week DfE Bootcamp in Data and get them job-ready for available roles with local SMEs and businesses.
  3. Once successful interviews have taken place and roles offered, the natural progression is onto a Level 4 apprenticeship or Accelerated Skills Bootcamp to further enhance their career pathway and skills into a role in tech.
  4. The journey to an apprenticeship or skills boot camp will provide continuous pastoral support.
  5. Enhanced Pastoral Support, including SEND and Welfare, Functional Skills 
  6. Aid retention and value of continuous learning 

How can this benefit my organisation?

Your involvement with the programme is a win-win – efficient recruitment for hard-to-fill roles at minimal cost. You will be able to meet a range of applicants halfway through their programme who are interested in your specific vacancy or vacancies, with the idea being that you will engage with the individual(s) prior to interviewing them for the role(s).

You will be able to interview applicants with the right skills for the roles you have to fill. You will be able to fill your post(s), knowing that the applicant has the right skills and can enhance your business from day one without incurring expensive advertising costs.

Build your tech capabilities to succeed in the digital age.

What would we have to do?

  1. All you have to do is identify a vacancy or role within your business that would benefit from the skills provided by the bootcamp.
  2. Commit to meeting the potential applicants halfway through their programme.
  3. Commit to interviewing the applicant or applicants for your role at the end of the programme.

How do we get involved?

For more information on how to get involved, contact Leigh Furlong leigh.furlong2@baesystems.com