Major plan to boost Bradford's manufacturing output
A big push to boost the district’s manufacturing sector, which accounts for one-fifth of local economic output, will be launched this week by business leaders, academics and Bradford Council.
They hope it will lead to the establishment of a Centre for Manufacturing Excellence in the city next year to provide a hub for technological innovation, investment and knowledge sharing. Its launch will follow a programme of events as part of Bradford’s Year of Manufacturing which starts this week.
It will see collaboration between Bradford Council, Bradford Chamber of Commerce, Bradford and Airedale Manufacturing Alliance, the University of Bradford and the Advanced Digital Institute at Salts Mill, Saltaire .
The year will highlight the depth of local technological capabilities, research and development expertise and funding support available. The aim is to highlight Bradford’s manufacturing strength, already well above the national average with 1,300 manufacturing companies.
The curtain-raiser will be at the Cedar Court hotel, Bradford, on Wednesday, hosted by the Bradford and Airedale Manufacturing Alliance. It will include a Question Time debate featuring Simon Malins, purchasing project manager for BorgWarner Turbo Systems, David Hanson, deputy managing director of Denso Marston, and Eric Hawthorn, managing director of Radio Design. Stephen Wright, managing director of pneumatics company Thorite and president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, who will chair the panel, said: “The importance of manufacturing to the local and national economy cannot be understated. BAMA is here to support our manufacturers to ensure support can be utilised and opportunities maximised.”
The event follows the opening of the Keighley FabLab, a digital fabrication workshop equipped with specialist machinery allowing concepts designed on 2D or 3D software to be made quickly and cost effectively.
Bradford Council and the chamber are collaborating on the Rising Stars programme to provide funding and business coach support for growing manufacturing companies.
Coun David Green, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration and economy, said: “Bradford’s heritage is all about high-quality manufacturing but the sector is not just about the past, it is very much about the present and the future.”
Activities will also include a showcase for plastics and polymers research at Bradford University in July and a business and sustainable environment event at Bradford University in September. In November the Advanced Digital Institute will focus on hi-tech industrial developments, and in January Bradford Council will host a series of seminars.
Monday 21st May 2012