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New report outlines full potential of Northamptonshire’s ‘High Performance Technologies’ sector

03 January 2012

A new report from Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership has revealed that the successful diversification of Northamptonshire’s motorsport expertise has led to a ‘High Performance Technologies’ cluster in the county. While the county is well known for its motorsport expertise, the report has identified nearly 1,500 businesses operating in High Performance Technologies in the county, reflecting Northamptonshire’s breadth of expertise and successes in the wider sector.

The report also suggests that the county’s High Performance Technology companies employ approximately 21,000 people and contribute around £2bn to the UK economy each year. High Performance Technologies, which includes engineering, manufacturing, the application of lightweight materials and composites, testing, research and design across sectors such as aerospace, defence, low carbon automotive, motorsport, marine, construction and electronics, accounts for 9% of the UK’s total turnover (£300 billion) and employs over 1.7 million people nationally.
Tim Bagshaw, Head of Investment at Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership said: “The county’s strength in motorsport is well recognised, but we have noticed an increasingly wider application of these skills to other areas of business. The report confirms the full extent of this diversification, outlining the cluster of High Performance Technology expertise that has developed in our region. It also makes it clear that there is huge potential for the industry going forward, and I’m sure there are plenty of businesses operating in the sector that we are not yet aware of.

“The county has, over the years, developed a workforce with specialist skills, a number of world-class facilities and has positioned itself as a hub of expertise in High Performance Technologies.”

The report estimates that around 80% of the businesses in this sector are small and medium enterprises, and also highlights how many of the county’s existing motorsport companies have used their expertise to develop their offerings into new industries including defence, aerospace, civil engineering, construction or energy. 

To ensure the various different facets of the sector are all represented, Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership established a Steering Group to include a range of experts to guide the future of the industry in the county. The Steering Group includes Nick Fry from Mercedes GP PETRONAS, Philip Bruce from Scott Bader, Matt Gallagher from The British Institute of Non Destructive Testing, Stuart Banks Engineering, Cosworth, Delta Motorsport, The Rolton Group and The University of Northampton.

Jonathan Parsons, HR Director for Cosworth, which has its headquarters in Northampton, and was recently named UK Manufacturer of the Year, agrees that Northamptonshire is well placed to support High Performance Technologies: “We have been able to leverage our well developed skills in motorsport engineering to allow us to diversify into other areas of High Performance Technologies such as defence and aerospace. It’s clear that county-wide there is real scope and potential across numerous High Performance Technology disciplines and that Northamptonshire is well positioned to support businesses in this sector.”

The launch of the report signals the start of a strategic plan by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership to support businesses in the High Performance Technologies cluster through a series of initiatives in 2012 and beyond. The plan includes support for start-up companies such as mentoring and property and funding advice, an international networking event in Brussels in spring 2012, a county sector-wide event in May 2012 and work with local schools and universities to support new talent in the sector.

For more information, or to view the report, click here

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