Region engineers a future in advanced technology

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The presence of high-profile global engineering giants such as Rolls-Royce and Boeing have put Sheffield at the very centre of the UK’s advanced manufacturing industry.

As the Government pushes ahead with its aim to rebalance the economy by broadening the nation’s manufacturing base, city leaders in Sheffield are determined new hi-tech firms will continue to replace the old industries which have slowly disappeared.

Central to the city’s vision of becoming a centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing is its enterprise zone, one of only a handful around the country which can offer enhanced capital allowances to firms looking to invest.

It will seek to build on the success of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, a trailblazing partnership between Boeing and the University of Sheffield, and more latterly the Advanced Manufacturing Park near Rotherham that will soon be home to Rolls-Royce.

James Newman, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The LEP is developing a global hub for modern manufacturing and technology in a city region which already includes leading names such as Rolls-Royce, Firth Rixson, Boeing, Tata and Forgemasters.

“Through our enterprise zone the Sheffield City Region will continue to attract and grow advanced manufacturing business by offering an unbeatable package which includes exclusive tax incentives, simplified planning, superfast broadband and excellent transport links.”

It is not only globally-renowned firms which are expanding.

X-Cel Superturn is a precision-machined components company where turnover has grown from £4m to nearly £20m in six years.

Its owner and chairman Andrew Taylor said: “South Yorkshire is a good place to manufacture stuff. There’s lot of raw materials supply, and all the services that go with it. The universities are producing good people, there’s a strong technical skills base, and the council here does seem to be very helpful and supportive in a way you wouldn’t have got 10 years ago.

“I’ve run factories in India and the US, and I can tell you that South Yorkshire is a far easier place to operate.”