Yorkshire has a long history of manufacturing and industrial innovation dating back to the Industrial Revolution. But the region now appears to be enjoying a new manufacturing renaissance, not in the form of mines and mills, but in technological innovation.
According to research by Yorkshire Times in collaboration with Make UK, the Yorkshire economy is enjoying a huge boost from its advanced manufacturing, research and development sectors. The region’s manufacturing output is estimated to be around 14% of its £110 billion economy, compared to just 10% in the rest of the UK. In cold hard cash, this amounts to a whopping £17 billion.
There are other positive stats coming out of Yorkshire’s industrial sectors too. The Yorkshire Times research found that nearly 300,000 people are employed in manufacturing roles across Yorkshire and The Humber. This amounts to around 11% of the total workforce in the region.
A leap in investment for Yorkshire science and innovation hubs
Investment in Yorkshire’s manufacturing industries has increased significantly in recent years. This is in large part due to the area’s many sizeable science and innovation parks. There is a total of eight dotted throughout the region, including the York Science Park and the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.
This 1.5 million square foot hub has been one of the biggest magnets for investors within the industrial sector. These include the £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre, and two High Value Manufacturing Catapults – the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
Both are run by the University of Sheffield in collaboration with leading industry partners such as Boeing, Tata Steel, Sheffield Forgemasters and Rolls-Royce.
Food and drink the top manufacturing sector
According to recent data on the Yorkshire manufacturing sector, food and drink is the top subsector. It accounts for just over 20% of the region’s manufacturing output, followed by metal products (15%) and chemicals (10%).
On its own, the food and drink manufacturing sector generates an enormous £3.4 billion for Yorkshire’s economy. This is predicted to increase further, with demand for more locally-sourced produce as the impact of the UK leaving the EU starts to be felt.
An encouraging future for Yorkshire industry
All of these statistics are hugely positive for the future of Yorkshire-based manufacturing, and industrial businesses across the region. Technological innovation seems to be key to this success.
For example, cities such as Sheffield in particular have bounced back from the decline of local mining, heavy industry and textile milling to forge a new identity as a centre for cutting-edge science and technology.
The city is fast becoming a leader for developments in electronics, material innovation and renewable energy. This should hopefully translate to more investment and more jobs in the years to come.
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