Scores of bosses, VIPs and council chiefs were descending on Factory 2050 today for a gala launch and signing ceremony for the McLaren deal.
The company’s supercars were set to take pride of place inside the hi-tech new building which cost £43million and was established to make regular breakthroughs in manufacturing techniques.
McLaren chief executive Mike Flewitt was due to be guest of honour, with Sir Keith Burnett, vice chancellor of Sheffield University, AMRC executive dean Keith Ridgway, LEP chair Sir Nigel Knowles and Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore.
The launch was also set to include apprentices from the AMRC’s Training Centre - it is understood McLaren will take on 10.
Sir Keith was due to say: “In front of you are some stunning pieces of engineering. These are some of the most exciting and desirable cars in the world.
“But to me even these wonderful cars are not the most exciting thing in the room.
“Because here today we can also see the engineers of the future.
“From day one of its investment, McLaren will create advanced apprentices who will join our cadre of nearly 600 industry-sponsored apprentices.
“Young men and women who are showing that the very highest quality training can revolutionise industry just as much as a high-performance material.
“So today is not just a celebration of an investment or a win for a company or region.
“It is about our ambitions for a high-tech and successful future.
“I am delighted we will build this future together.”
REGION REJOICES OVER MCLAREN DEAL
Council, university and business chiefs believe the deal will be a catalyst for international investment.
The Star understands a second global hi-tech manufacturer is set to announce a new factory soon.
The McLaren Composites Technology Centre - set to stand on the former Sheffield City Airport runway - is also being hailed as a huge boost for the idea of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.
Sheffield and Rotherham councils, Sheffield University and the Local Enterprise Partnership are promoting the idea of a cluster of manufacturing and technology firms in, or near, the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.
The news, announced by The Star yesterday, was met with delight by the business community on The Star’s website, on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Renate Halton, of the International Trade Forum based in Sheffield, said it was “fabulous news for Sheffield City Region.”
Giles Searby, a LEP private sector board member, said: “Great inward investment coup, ‘chapeau’ to Kevin Bennett, of Business Sheffield, and the Sheffield City Region inward investment team for getting this across the line.”
Adam Murray, director at Coda Planning, said: “Great news. Sheffield really is a ‘city on the move’ at the moment.”
Ian Proctor, of Sheffield University Management School, added: “Brilliant news. This is further evidence of the value of having a world class university that the whole region can benefit from.”
Aaron Carter, senior relationship manager at NatWest, said: “Excellent news for the broader area as another world class brand chooses a location ‘up norf’.”
Oliver Gwynne, head of marketing at Bronte Engineering, said: “McClaren’s facility down south is breath-taking.
“I went for an interview there once and was completely blown away.
“It was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.”