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Key Appointments to Drive Growth for North East Manufacturing


A multi-million-pound business support programme has made two key appointments as it looks to step up its support for North East manufacturing.

The £10.9million Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project has appointed Keith Peddieson and Paul Taylor as its new business development executives.

Keith joins SAM as business development executive for Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham, having spent over 15 years working with the region’s manufacturing base, from helping improve the provision of apprenticeships to driving change management.

Paul has joined SAM to cover the North of Tyne area after almost 30 years working in a variety of senior roles across the region, the UK and internationally in both the public and private sector. These include organisations such as One North East, the Materials Processing Institute (MPI), University of Northampton and as advisor to a number of SMEs.

The experience of building these relationships will now be key to helping Keith and Paul hit the ground running in their newly created roles, as they help the region’s SME manufacturers address their challenges and maximise opportunities securing the support required – be it funding or technical advice – to drive business growth.

Speaking about his new role, Keith said: “I met SAM’s project lead, Roger O’Brien, at a networking event and decided to take him up on his offer of a site visit and I was blown away by the support they provided.

“Having worked with the region’s manufacturers for the best part of two decades, I’ve seen with my own eyes just how much the industry has evolved during that period and the importance of embracing new technologies and processes in order to remain competitive.

“While the North East has never been short of ingenuity among its world-leading manufacturers, one thing the sector has been starved of in recent times is the technical and financial support to continue competing on the global stage and the SAM Project has been key to plugging that gap.

“I have always loved engaging with manufacturers and this new role will allow me to continue doing just that. I can’t wait to get started.”

The SAM Project is a collaboration between ERDF, which has provided £5.77m in funding (£2.6m from 2014-2020 and £3.1m from 2020-2023) and the University of Sunderland, which manages and, alongside industry, has invested £5.15m into the delivery of the project.

The support includes matched grant funding for eligible businesses of up to £50,000 as well as fully funded technical support to help participants explore and invest in the latest industry 4.0 technologies to become more sustainable and drive business growth.

Since its launch in 2018, hundreds of companies have engaged with the project, from mid-sized manufacturers such as AGMA Ltd and Clearly Drinks to start-ups such as Rediviva and Kocktail, with over £2million in grant funding being distributed to support the purchase of new technology and improved processes.

However, the huge success of phase one of the project has resulted in only limited funds being available for companies seeking to benefit from phase two of the programme, with both tasked with helping those interested in growing their business throughout 2022-2023 to tap into the support.

Paul added: “Joining the SAM Project really is an opportunity to go back to basics advising and supporting SMEs to maximise their opportunities for growth. It’s a unique regional project to work on, as it blends the hands on the experience of the SAM team with access to the academic expertise of the University of Sunderland. 

“The team of manufacturing experts it has assembled are incredibly knowledgeable and approachable. They are all from industry and have a genuine desire to support businesses which is what I’ve always done, it’s good to be working with likeminded people with the same goal of helping the region’s manufacturers to innovate and grow.”

Roger O’Brien, Project & Technical Lead at the SAM Project, added: “We are delighted to welcome the pair to the team.

“Their wealth of experience working among the region’s manufacturers will be key to helping ensure we are able to engage with more businesses as we progress with phase two and continue increasing our level of support.

“To echo Paul, we have a team of really talented experts here at the SAM Project who love nothing more than working with manufacturers to overcome the barriers facing their businesses, therefore we’d recommend any business seeking support to get in touch while the support is still available.”

For more information on the SAM Project, visit:

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