Bold design will add a touch of glass to manufacturing base

The Glass Academy
The Glass Academy
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Sheffield’s incredible £90m glass academy is the latest development set to sparkle at the new centre of advanced manufacturing in the region.

The all-glass lozenge-shaped structure will sit alongside Sheffield University’s Factory 2050 on the old Sheffield City Airport runway – now Sheffield Business Park.

It will enable the British Glass Academy to move into a dedicated new building to include ‘mini’ factories for training, R&D facilities and an education centre.

The academy was launched in 2013 by British Glass, the Sheffield-based trade association for the sector, and is run from its headquarters in Chapeltown.

At present, it has a skills development programme providing apprenticeships, bespoke courses and professional qualifications.

Work on the University’s Factory 2050 has already begun and a masterplan to develop 50 acres of land for advanced manufacturing is currently in preparation.

Locating the Glass Academy at the heart of this hub is said to offer “significant” opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

Dave Dalton, CEO of British Glass and The Glass Academy, said: “The glass industry is rooted in the work of a Sheffield University department 100 years ago so it’s fitting that the creation of the British Glass Academy world class centre of excellence as the hub of glass training in the UK will be based in Sheffield in collaboration with the university.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced £5m funding for the Academy building some months ago.

He said: “After securing investment for the new British Glass Academy and the Universities’ Factory 2050 down in Westminster, it’s hugely satisfying to come back to Sheffield and see shovels starting to go in the ground. Our advanced manufacturing hub is fast becoming the envy of the world and both these new world class developments will only enhance our reputation even further.

“This can only mean even more investment and jobs for local people.”

Prof Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of Sheffield University, said: “Our proposed advanced manufacturing research campus is absolutely central to our plans as we continue to deliver innovative ways of offering young people access to high quality training and education, as well as working closely with the advanced manufacturing sector to ensure they can achieve maximum benefits from the real-life implementation of research carried out within the university.”

British Glass, through its Glass Academy initiative, has also committed to partner with Sheffield’s University Technical College on curriculum projects.

The £10m UTC on Shoreham Street specialises in technical qualifications.