Image:  HM Treasury

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed on Friday that South Yorkshire will be the first of 12 Advanced Manufacturing Investment Zones throughout the UK, with a focus on universities and advanced manufacturing sectors such as aerospace.

Twelve Investment Zones to be established across the UK based around a university and clusters of high growth industries like Advanced Manufacturing, life sciences or green industries, will deliver benefits directly to local communities.

Building on the area’s strengths, the South Yorkshire Investment Zone is focused on Advanced Manufacturing and includes the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. It is expected that the Investment Zone will help leverage more than £1.2 billion of private funding and help support more than 8,000 jobs by 2030.

The Chancellor welcomed the first of those investments as he met executives from Boeing at the AMRC’s Factory 2050, a manufacturing technologies research and development facility. With an £80 million investment by government and industry – one of the UK’s largest ever advanced manufacturing investments – the aim is to revolutionise aerospace manufacturing.

People from Sheffield Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley will see blockers to growth in their area, such as challenges attracting finance and investment, supporting business growth and clear pathways to higher skilled jobs, reduced. This could be through potential support for specialist training programmes tailored to industry and support for local businesses in the sector’s supply chains, helping drive more business activity and productivity.

Growth across the country

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt: “Our first Investment Zone is a shining example of how we will drive growth across the country.

“It’s already secured more than £80 million of private investment, including backing from Boeing and will help support more than 8,000 jobs by 2030.”

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove said: “Today’s announcement is a significant moment for South Yorkshire as it becomes the home of England’s first advanced manufacturing Investment Zone. This will help level up the region, creating jobs and boosting economic growth. We want to build on South Yorkshire’s proud heritage so that it can make an even greater contribution to the UK economy. This is what levelling up is all about, promoting growth and providing opportunities so people can thrive in the communities they are from.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “Boeing and its partners’ investment in the new Investment Zone is a major vote of confidence in our world-leading aerospace sector and adds to the nearly £400 million of government-backed funding for aerospace projects we’ve announced in 2023 alone. Our forthcoming plan for Advanced Manufacturing will build on this success and help ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the industries of the future, creating high-quality jobs and economic growth right across the country.”

The announcement of an investment of more than £80 million for a portfolio of Research & Development projects, backed by Boeing, will look at the future of aerospace. Boeing will work with industry partners, Spirit AeroSystems and Loop Technology at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Factory 2050 in Sheffield Business Park.

The project, co-funded by industry and government, including through the Aerospace Technology Institute programme and with support from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and the University of Sheffield, puts the UK at the cutting edge of aviation research, development and manufacturing as demand for commercial aircraft is forecasted to be greater than 40,000 over the next 20 years.

Boeing has a long history in South Yorkshire – its programme can be traced back to the company co-founding the AMRC with the University of Sheffield around 22 years ago. Since then, the AMRC has spawned the advanced manufacturing campus in the former brownfield site including Boeing’s first European factory.

Government will continue to work with South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and other local partners to co-develop the plans for their Advanced Manufacturing Investment Zone, including agreeing priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, over the summer ahead of final confirmation of plans.

Boeing has joined with UK partners and the British Government in what is one of the UK’s largest ever advanced manufacturing investments, to develop and test pioneering new composite manufacturing technologies.

The Boeing-led project, known as Isothermic High-Rate Sustainable Structures (IHSS) and funded through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, will centre around automated dry fibre and resin infusion advanced manufacturing methods, which will achieve high manufacturing rates and increase production efficiency.

The project will initially create around 50 jobs in South Yorkshire and, based on existing and forecasted aircraft demand, has the potential to create 3,000 UK jobs long-term and around £2 billion annually in export opportunities.

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