Looking to drive forward skills and innovation

The first meeting took place in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday of the new West Suffolk Advanced Manufa

The first meeting took place in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday of the new West Suffolk Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Group Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILS - Credit: Archant

A new group has been launched to promote advanced manufacturing and engineering in West Suffolk.

The newly-formed West Suffolk Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Group will help drive forward innovation and skills development within the sector.

Close to two dozen businesses from across the area came together for the meeting on Wednesday, organised by West Suffolk councils and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Councillor Susan Glossop, cabinet member at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “It was a positive inaugural meeting offering lots of potential for the future. We have a strong and diverse mix of manufacturing and engineering businesses in West Suffolk and this new group offers the chance for local businesses to collaborate, to speak with one voice, to network and to further develop their own local supply chain. It will ensure that the region goes on to become even more globally competitive. Just as many of these businesses manufacture component parts, they will each come together to work as one engine driving ideas, initiatives and shared learning, all for their collective success and to further boost jobs and skills development here in West Suffolk.”

Councillor Lance Stanbury Forest Heath Council cabinet member for planning and growth said: “This is an important business sector and the creation of this new group is an exciting new development for the growth of business and skills in West Suffolk. The council is already working with business sectors and marrying them up with the skills development taking place in our schools, colleges and universities including the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facility being opened by West Suffolk College.

“The formation of the new West Suffolk Council in just a few months’ time will also put us in a stronger position as we lobby to get more investment in infrastructure for the region – infrastructure to help the area continue to thrive and succeed long into the future.”

Jamie Thums chief operating officer of Norwich-based Lintott Control Systems Limited and chair of New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering NAAME sector group said: “NAMME is charged with representing and championing the sector, which is one of the largest in the region. West Suffolk is now the sixth regional group that has been established and my NAAME colleagues and I will be working closely with all concerned to maximise the opportunities and to ensure positive outcomes for all concerned.”

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The first meeting was held at Denny Bros in Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds.

Future meetings of the group will rotate between other towns and venues in West Suffolk.

Any businesses wishing to register to find out more should email James.Talbot@westsuffolk.gov.uk