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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Warm welcome for £26.8m South Cumbria jobs boost

EDUCATORS and businesses have welcomed news of a government cash boost that will create thousands of jobs and help train hundreds of apprentices in South Cumbria.

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ADVANCED MANUFACURING CENTRE Furness College

Yesterday the Department for Business Innovation and Skills announced £26.8m will be allocated to the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership to fund several projects throughout the county.

Of the money, £1.2m will go towards a new Advance Manufacturing Centre at Furness College. The college will add its own contribution towards the £3.4m project.

The centre will host engineering and advanced manufacturing research, as well as rapid prototyping and high voltage test laboratories.

Deputy principal Mark Nicholson said: “The new centre will allow the college to recruit up to 1,150 apprentices in engineering and advanced manufacturing at any one time.

“This seems like a large number but employers including BAE Systems, Siemens, Kimberly Clark, GSK and Centrica have given the college a clear indication of their plans for growth over the next five years.”

A further £4.5m will be spent on widening North Lonsdale Road and Quebec Street in South Ulverston to improve access to the planned GSK biopharm site.

Pat McIver, the GSK site biopharm lead, said: “I would like to congratulate Cumbria LEP on securing this funding for the county. It is very good news for Cumbria. The funding will make an important contribution towards strengthening the competitiveness of manufacturing in the county and help the Cumbrian economy to grow.

“The investment in skills, including an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre at Furness College, will help the area to make the most of the opportunities that will be provided by the new jobs being created by GSK and other companies. The government has also recognised the need for infrastructure investment in Cumbria, including much needed road improvements in South Ulverston.”

A high-tech supply chain base at Barrow Waterfront will also be built thanks to a £5.5m grant from the Local Growth Fund.

The Successor Enterprise Zone at the Ramsden Business Park at Barrow Waterfront will have BAE Systems as a main tenant.

Tony Johns, managing director for BAE Systems Maritime– Submarines, said: “This is fantastic news for both Barrow and the rest of Cumbria.

“BAE Systems is experiencing a period of significant growth as we move closer towards the build of a successor to the Vanguard class.

“More than £300m is to be invested transforming our Barrow site in readiness for this, and part of our plan includes the intention to build a logistics facility on land at Barrow’s Waterfront.

“We also recognise the importance of growing our own talent and we see today’s students as fundamental to the long-term future of our business.

“The training delivered by Furness College will help sustain a pipeline of talent and preserve the specialist manufacturing skills crucial to the build of submarines in Barrow.”

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