A world leading Scarborough manufacturer believes the creation of a new University Technical College can establish the North Yorkshire town as the UK’s next engineering hotspot.
Unison, a tube bending machine manufacturer and software provider, is one of the key backers of the Scarborough UTC, which will cater for 14-18 years olds with a focus on STEM subject courses.
The Scarborough UTC is scheduled to open in September 2016 and hopes to offer as many as 600-800 places for students.
Executive director Peter Wilkinson said the company, which founded and organises Scarborough Engineering Week, has struggled for a long time to find skills like other engineering companies in the region.
“For as long as Unison has been in existence, we have struggled to find the technical staff we need to grow,” he said.
“The same situation applies to virtually every other engineering company in this area. I know that most of our local engineering businesses could expand by 10% or more almost instantly if we had a pool of local engineering talent.
“The new UTC will lay the groundwork to help realise this ambition – bringing enormous opportunity to the area.”
Wilkinson noted a turning point in the economic development cycle when enough companies engaged in similar activities ‘cluster’ together, benefiting from a joint presence generating a large pool of skilled labour and providing markets for each other’s goods.
“Up to now, Scarborough alone has struggled to achieve the critical mass required to sustain itself as a successful regional centre for engineering,” he adds.
“The Scarborough UTC gives us the chance to become a regional hotspot for technology companies – embracing communities from Whitby to Bridlington to Driffield and beyond – helping existing employers to grow and attracting new businesses to set up in the local area.