Column: Celebrating six years of the Sheffield City Region

A general view of the Advanced Manufacturing Park.
A general view of the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

I’m delighted to say ‘Happy Birthday’ as we celebrate six highly successful years since the Sheffield City Region was created to boost employment and growth in the regional economy.

We do what we say here - 1400 new jobs and almost £100 million of investment have landed in the region over the last year alone. We know that our straightforward approach to getting the job done makes us an increasingly attractive destination for investment.

Sir Nigel Knowles has been announced as the new chair of the local enterprise partnership. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sir Nigel Knowles has been announced as the new chair of the local enterprise partnership. Picture: Andrew Roe

And what a lot of birthday presents we’ve had!

Among them are:-

* Devolved powers - We led the way in the UK in negotiating devolved powers from Government and we have just concluded a far-reaching consultation on the way in which those powers should be used.

* Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund – Our visionary stream of infrastructure funding has meant a range of imaginative projects could get up and running much faster than would otherwise have happened. They include the Peak Resort leisure destination, our Olympic Legacy Park, M1 junction improvements, transport links and broadband.

* European Structural and Investment Fund - The new ‘Royce Transformational Centre’ to be built on the Advanced Manufacturing Park will research how metal powders can be used more effectively in key city region sectors such as aerospace, automotive, energy and high-value medical manufacturing. The SCR is investing in the centre through its £320 million ESIF.

* Skills and employment - We are boosting employment through a range of initiatives we have launched including a team of enterprise advisors, our Skills Bank, and grants for apprentices.

* Growth Hub - The Hub is our single point of contact for all businesses across the region needing advice on access to finance, skills and training, innovation, export, start-up and growth.

* The National College for High Speed Rail - The college, with sites at Doncaster’s Lakeside and Birmingham’s university district, opens in Autumn 2017 delivering highly technical skills for the rail industry. It will have 2,000 students.

* Inward Investment - As part of our mission to attract inward investment, later this month we will be in Berlin at Innotrans, the world’s leading transport technology trade fair. We have support from the British Embassy and UKTI, and will be talking to many international contacts to showcase the huge strengths of this region in the rail sector, including the National College for High Speed Rail.