Friday, May 20, 2016

News: Business secretary visits Rotherham

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Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, visited Rotherham this week to witness how the borough is backing business, supporting innovation and boosting skills.

On a visit to the world class Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham the business secretary officially opened the park's newest commercial property - the 32,000 sq ft state-of-the art facility at the AMP Technology Centre.

Already 50% let, the new building is part of the park's incubation space. Landowners, The Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), which took on the assets from Yorkshire Forward, expect that the £4.2m building will provide innovative SME companies from the initial centre the opportunity to expand into larger premises, as well as attracting high technology companies from further afield.

MetLase, the joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart Group, has taken 10,000 sq ft in the new centre.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured above, centre), said: "South Yorkshire has long been synonymous with manufacturing. This new building will be a welcome addition to the next generation of advanced manufacturing and technology innovators in the Northern Powerhouse.

"Many of the companies here are inventing, designing, developing and manufacturing products and technologies years ahead of their time, giving them a vital role in the region’s growth and the UK economy."

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Jacquie Boulton, area manager at the Homes and Communities Agency, added: "The official launch of this new building marks a significant milestone for us.

"The AMP Technology Centre opened in 2006 and since then we've worked hard alongside managing and lettings agent Creative Space Management to "cluster" similar businesses which benefit from sharing knowledge and expertise from like-minded companies.

"The Technology Centre is now at almost 100% occupancy and to ensure that these companies, which generate valuable high-net worth jobs, stay in South Yorkshire, we need to make sure we provide the type of specialist office and workshop space in which they can grow and develop. This building will allow them to do exactly that."

The secretary also met young apprentices during a visit to the University of Sheffield Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC). The £25m Nuclear AMRC is a joint initiative with industry, The University of Sheffield and The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, and is designed to help build and enhance the UK's civil nuclear new build industry.

Mr Javid praised the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre's new Foundation Degree in Manufacturing Technology developed with employers that aims to provide young people with the skills of the future, while in employment and avoiding major debt.
Javid said: "We introduced degree apprenticeships so that young people across the country have a real alternative to a traditional university degree, while helping UK businesses develop the skills they need to grow.

"For too long, ambitious school leavers have been told that university was their only option, but that isn't the case anymore. Top class apprenticeships that include degrees like those being offered at the University of Sheffield mean our young people have a choice about their future."

The University is already one of the first in higher education to offer quality advanced manufacturing Foundation, Undergraduate and Masters degrees using the apprenticeship model jointly funded with businesses.

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the University of Sheffield AMRC, said: "To compete in a global economy it is essential that our engineers of the future have a wide range of generic skills in addition to core engineering competencies.

"This course ensures students gain a balanced knowledge and understanding in the context of engineering manufacture with the right mix of academic and vocational learning."

The Nuclear AMRC also showcased the research taking place into the development of small modular reactors, which promise to be much more affordable in the UK than the large scale reactors planned for projects like Hinkley Point C, and can be manufactured in the UK.

AMP Technology Centre website
Nuclear AMRC website

Images: Creative Space Management / Nuclear AMRC

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