Coup for Steel City helps steer industrial revolution

How Boeing's new Sheffield factory could look.

How Boeing's new Sheffield factory could look.

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SOUTH YORKSHIRE could play a crucial role leading “a new Industrial Revolution”, according to business and education leaders following Boeing’s decision to make Sheffield the home of its first European factory.

The bold claim has been made by Professor Sir Keith Burnett, president and vice chancellor of the University of Sheffield, who added that landing the £20m deal was a major triumph for the region.

Boeing Sheffield will make hi-tech components for aircraft in a plant next to the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

Prof Burnett said: “This is hugely important, not only for our region and the North of England, but also the UK’s global industrial ambitions in high-productivity, high-value manufacturing. Areas such as Sheffield can play a crucial role in a new Industrial Revolution for the UK - one centred on science and innovation, but working hand-in-hand with industry.

“I am deeply proud that leading global companies recognise that Made in Sheffield still remains a hallmark of quality.”

Prof Burnett’s comments have been backed by the executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry Richard Wright, who claimed the Steel City was in the midst of an industrial renaissance.

He said: “We hope to lead the new industrial technological revolution.

“We are as good as anywhere in Europe at technology and manufacturing high-performance materials and high-value components.

“It just shows if you get the skills, the expertise in research and development and the technology right, people will come and invest in your region.”

The £20m deal comes just weeks after the supercar company McLaren announced plans for a £50m factory and 200 jobs in the area.

And with the city continuing to attract major investment from other hi-tech companies, including Rolls-Royce, Sheffield continues to cement itself as a city centred on science and innovation.

Mr Wright said: “We have got everything in place to lead on the high technology manufacturing sector in this country.”

Boeing co-founded the AMRC with The University of Sheffield in 2001.

Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe, said: “We are proud to expand our relationship with the UK still further with Boeing Sheffield.”

Planning permission is currently being applied for to build the 25,000 sq ft factory. It is hoped the first parts will be produced in late 2018, with an initial staff of 30.

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