Tuesday, October 24, 2023

News: Putting manufacturing at the heart of social, environmental and economic renewal


A leading figure in the world of advanced manufacturing has joined forces with experts in innovation districts, land development and public affairs, to establish a strategic advisory business that directly supports the growth of more resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies.

Bridgway Global, headquartered in West Yorkshire, brings together the talents of three key figures – Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, Iain Thomson and John Yates – who worked together in transforming the site of the derelict Orgreave colliery and coking works in Rotherham into a cluster of advanced manufacturing companies including Rolls Royce, Boeing, McLaren, Nikken and the UKAEA.

Professor Ridgway worked with Adrian Allen OBE to launch the AMRC with Boeing in 2001. It has played the key part in the transformation of the former colliery site and has given Rotherham the recognition as being at the heart of world-class advanced manufacturing.

Expanding over the Parkway into Sheffield, the location became the UK's first Advanced Manufactuing Innovation District, with local policy makers keen to see it expand further as part of the South Yorkshire Investment Zone.

Professor Ridgway, Director of Bridgway Global who leads the business on manufacturing and industrial innovation said: “With the United States, China and the European Union putting advanced manufacturing at the heart of their economic strategies it is vital that the United Kingdom, with its ambition to be a science superpower, does not get left behind.

“We must not repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s. An innovative and expanding manufacturing base is essential to building strong communities and a more sustainable economic future, driving big gains in productivity and turning the brilliant ideas born of fundamental science into home grown businesses, technologies and products.”

In the 1990s, government had all but abandoned South Yorkshire to de-industrialisation, but today a new community of more than 2,000 homes is blossoming at Waverley alongside the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) = a world-class cluster of aerospace, green energy, defence, and automotive brands and their supply chains.

Fellow Director and Bellona Advisors’ Managing Director Iain Thomson, who leads the business on land and property development matters and public-private partnerships, said: “The wealth of knowledge and experience in the team enables us to act as a vital bridge between advanced manufacturers, land and property interests, research institutions and both national and regional government in an era of growing devolution across the world.”

Bridgway’s initial service offer builds on this experience by providing strategic advice to major landowners and developers looking to promote new advanced manufacturing schemes and decarbonisation clusters. It will also connect advanced manufacturers – from global OEMs and their supply chains – to policy makers, Research & Development specialists and funders, to improve market conditions to grow their businesses, including the development of industrial and spatial policy at national and regional level and the creation of public-private financial instruments.

Bridgway Global Director John Yates, who was Head of External Affairs at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) when Boeing, McLaren and the UKAEA opened facilities on the campus, added: “As a small, agile business armed with a wealth of experience in all these fields, we can be the catalyst that cuts through obstacles and delay to make things happen and get stuff done. These are challenging and uncertain times for the UK economy, but if we can bridge the divide at Orgreave we believe we can be a bridge over troubled economic waters anywhere.”

Bridgway Global website

Images: Bridgway Global


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