Glyndwr University and Ruth Lee Ltd have formed a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop a revolutionary training product which will transform the way emergency services professionals will conduct training across the world.
Ruth Lee Ltd is a world-leading manufacturer of rescue training manikins. From humble beginnings, producing its products in the family home, the business has grown to be an established brand within the safety and rescue communities, as well as notoriously difficult sectors such as healthcare.
All Ruth Lee products have been developed at the request of its customers – indeed, the very first manikin was created when a firefighter friend of the owner, Ruth Lee (herself!) asked her to repair his home-made dummy.
Since then, the company has worked with experts in safety and rescue including the Royal Navy, RNLI, RLSS, and many others to create a range of manikins designed specifically for the demands of different technical rescue scenarios, including working at height, lifeguard training, confined space evacuation and trauma management.
Over 70% of its products are exported to more than 50 countries and in 2020, despite the challenge of covid, the business was awarded the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade – the top business award for export success in the UK.
Innovation is important for any SME, and this has certainly played a pivotal role in Ruth Lee’s success. Whether through internal development or partnering with other expert organisations, the company is dedicated to ensuring its products meet the evolving and stringent demands of training.
L to R, Ruth Lee’s Managing Director Paul McDonnell, Laura Gough and Nathan Roberts (Glyndwr University), Ruth Lee Director Susan Edwards, Ruth Lee Innovation Manager Stuart Cheetham
In 2020 Ruth Lee hosted several panel discussions with training leaders across various sectors to discover their vision for ‘The Future of Training’. With technology clearly playing an increasingly important role, the company immediately saw an opportunity to enhance the realism of its products by investing in and adopting the latest technological advancements.
To this end the company reached out to Glyndwr University to explore opportunities for collaboration and in May 2022 the two organisations secured funding from Innovate UK and the Welsh Government for a 2-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), which will enable Ruth Lee to employ a software development engineer and embed into the business the skills it needs to meet future training needs.
Stuart Cheetham, Innovation Manager at Ruth Lee Ltd said:
“Ruth Lee Ltd is not about “doing what has always been done” – we want to transform training – to make it the best and most realistic experience so that those taking part become more skilled and more confident to fulfil their community-critical roles.
We are keen to develop exceptional training concepts – our Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Glyndwr University is an important step in this process and we are really looking forward to working with them as we look at ways to develop and apply new technologies to (Search/Rescue/Care) training.”
Paul McDonnell, Managing Director at Ruth Lee Ltd said:
“The close collaboration with experts from Glyndwr University will facilitate a transfer of the skills and technical knowledge required by Ruth Lee to transform the business over the next few years, as we achieve our vision of becoming a global innovation leader in the sector.
We have a long-standing relationship with the Welsh Government and in particular, Business Wales, who have supported us with several projects aimed at growing the business. This latest initiative is an excellent example of how academia is collaborating with, and supporting, industry in Wales to drive business, increase exports and generate employment opportunities for local communities.”
Laura Gough, Head of Enterprise at Glyndwr University said,
“We are thrilled to have established this Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Ruth Lee through this exciting project that will revolutionise life-saving training. KTPs provide businesses with fantastic opportunities to embed new knowledge and are one of Glyndwr University’s priority initiatives in supporting businesses. This is the 4th KTP in just over a year and we are delighted to be growing the number of companies we collaborate with to deliver these projects.”