Rolls-Royce flies in with hi-tech jobs plan

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MORE than 700 hi-tech jobs could be created under plans unveiled by Rolls-Royce to build three new factories on South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Two factories could be built initially, employing 360 people within two years.

The number of jobs could more than double if the company fully achieves its ambitions.

One factory, to be built alongside the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre and dubbed the Advanced Blade Casting Facility, would make turbine blades used in the high power compressor within a jet engine, where temperatures reach more than 1,900°C.

A second factory - to be called ‘Project PoWer’ - is likely to be built at the same time, behind the Advanced Blade Casting Facility and dedicated to making safety critical components for civil nuclear reactors.

Details of the plans were revealed as Rolls-Royce launched a public consultation attended by Catcliffe residents, Rotherham councillors and businesspeople, ahead of a planning application being submitted in May.

If all goes according to plan, construction work on the first two factories could start next year and the company would start recruiting and training its new employees at the same time.

Jobs would also be available for apprentices, as part of company plans to double the number of trainees it takes on every year.

The third factory could be built at a later date.

The 19,400 square metre Project PoWer plant - about the size of three football pitches - and the 14,000 square metre Advanced Blade Casting Facility would each initially employ 180 staff and have the capability to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Project PoWer would make giant nuclear vessels - a clear indication Rolls-Royce sees a definite future for civil nuclear power, despite the recent disaster in Japan. The plant would not have any nuclear fuel on site, however.

Rolls-Royce is understood to have chosen South Yorkshire for its new plants because of the availability of people with the skills it needs, existing links with suppliers from the region, ease of access to other parts of the UK and the rest of the world, and its existing collaboration with Sheffield University over the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and new Nuclear AMRC, currently being built at the AMP.

Only last year the company chose the AMP’s new ‘technology incubator’ as the site for a hi-tech facility designing a new generation of aero engine turbine discs.