Sheffield City Region celebrates six years of successful growth
I’m delighted to say ‘Happy Birthday’ as we celebrate six highly successful years since the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership was created to boost employment and growth in the regional economy.
We do what we say here – since 2012 alone over 4,000 jobs and 2,500 apprenticeships have been created, upskilling 1,700 people and unlocking more than £200million of private sector investment. We know that our straightforward approach to getting the job done makes us an increasingly attractive destination for investment.
And what a lot of birthday presents we’ve had! Among them –
Devolved powers: We led the way in the UK in negotiating devolved powers from Government and we have just concluded a far-reaching consultation on the way in which those powers should be used.
Our consultation reached over 1million people giving them very straightforward means to comment – at town hall meetings, in shopping centres, online, via social media, through email and even ‘snail mail’. We beat the number of replies predicted by polling company Ipsos Mori by a very long way. We are grateful for every reply as we know how important our work is to enable the growth of our region and that there is still much to be done.
Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund
Our visionary stream of infrastructure funding has meant a range of imaginative projects could get up and running much faster than would otherwise have happened. They include our Olympic Legacy Park, the Peak Resort leisure destination, M1 junction improvements, transport links and broadband.
European Structural and Investment Fund
The new ‘Royce Transformational Centre’ to be built on the Advanced Manufacturing Park will research how metal powders can be used more effectively in key city region sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy and high-value medical manufacturing. The SCR is investing in the Centre through its £320million European Structural and Investment Fund.
Skills and employment
We are boosting employment through a range of initiatives including a team of enterprise advisors, our Skills Bank, and grants for apprentices. Our skills-enhancement objective was given a tremendous boost in May when the Skills Minister addressed our ‘Skills Summit’. The venue had standing room only with an audience including 30 apprentices from across the city region who inspired the business leaders in the room with their passion to work, live and make a life locally. Our job will continue to be to ensure that these successful examples are supported and replicated across Sheffield City Region.
The Hub is our single point of contact for all businesses across the region needing advice on access to finance, skills and training, innovation, export, start-up and growth.
The National College for High Speed Rail
The College, with sites at Doncaster’s Lakeside and Birmingham’s university district, opens in Autumn 2017 delivering highly technical skills for the rail industry. It will have 2,000 students.
As part of our mission to attract inward investment, later this month we will be in Berlin at Innotrans, the world’s leading transport technology trade fair. We have support from the British Embassy and UKTI, and will be talking to many international contacts to showcase the huge strengths of this region in the rail sector.
Rail is one of our most important industries. It employs 8,000 people in the region, with another 24,000 working in its supply chain. Rail companies from around the world including the USA, Japan, Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland have bases here. Some examples include:
• The £70million Hitachi Rail Maintenance Depot in Doncaster opening early 2017 creating 160 jobs. It will serve the new Hitachi class 800 series trains on the East Coast Mainline from 2018.
• The Austrian/Swiss rail group Rhomberg Sersa established its UK head office in Doncaster in 2014. The €300million business, among the world’s leading slab track technology companies, was attracted to the region by its cluster of rail and engineering businesses.
• The Trackwork Moll manufacturing plant, opened in Doncaster in 2013, makes 400,000 concrete sleepers annually for Network Rail.
The iconic Flying Scotsman, built in Doncaster in 1923, was officially the first locomotive in the UK to be clocked at 100mph. And with six years of success under our belt, this region is certainly creating its own high-speed success!
Rail facts in the Sheffield City Region
• Daily train services from Felixstowe and South Coast ports run into Doncaster’s international rail freight terminal
• Sheffield Supertram carries 12million passengers a year
• SCR has sites available for expansion; many are either already rail connected or can be.
• Paris and Brussels are less than 4.5 hours away by train via London St Pancras International,