At least 150 hi-tech jobs will be created in Rotherham, thanks to the decision to site a hi-tech Automotive Proving Factory at Brinsworth – and many more are set to follow.
Prospects for future expansion were revealed at Business Secretary Vince Cable officially launched the project.
The Proving Factory will bridge the gap between technologists developing new ideas for eco-friendly vehicles and car companies by creating prototypes and developing manufacturing techniques that allow the ideas to be transferred to production lines.
The development, on the site of a former Tata Steel rolling mill, is due to be completed in 2015, but work on initial projects involving founding partners, who include Jaguar Land Rover, Unipart and LUK (UK)’s parent group, are likely to start before the factory is complete.
Although the initial plan is for 150 development and advanced engineering jobs, hopes are that it will lead to a second factory being built on spare land at Tata’s Brinsworth Strip Mills.
Having shown that the new technology works and can be made economically in the proving factory, the second factory would make production runs of up to 20,000 individual components to demonstrate to manufacturers that they can get a secure and steady supply of the new advanced products.
Officially launching the Automotive Proving Factory initiative, Business Secretary Vince Cable told guests: “Advanced manufacturing is absolutely critical to getting this country moving forward.
“We have become too pessimistic, too negative about the influence of manufacturing.
“British manufacturing industry, despite its decline relative to the rest of the economy is as big in our country as it is in France and the US.
“Half of our exports are from manufacturing; about three quarters of the research and development that happens in this country is in manufacturing industry.
“If we are going to progress we have got to have a successful manufacturing industry.”