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Skills Bank Open For Business

posted 24 Apr 2019, 07:42 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 24 Apr 2019, 07:42 ]

A new look Skills Bank that puts employers from across the Sheffield City Region in charge of their own skills and training has been launched.

Skills Bank, delivered by Calderdale College, is a business led programme developed by the Local Enterprise Partnership and using devolved government funding, matches private sector investment with public funding to help businesses invest in their workforce and improve their productivity. Funding is available to businesses that make a strong case for how the investment will deliver growth.

The service which cuts through red tape and ushers in a new culture of flexible public-sector funding, works with businesses to deliver bespoke, tailor made training. 

It is part of a wide-ranging business support offer available through the Sheffield City Region’s Growth Hub.

Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said: “We’re a region that has some fantastic businesses and world class training facilities, including our Further Education Colleges, the National College for High Speed Rail and the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre. The Sheffield City Region Skills Bank is another important part of our work to build a skills system that delivers for businesses, communities and the economy.

Skills Bank is an example of an innovative locally designed solution and shows the benefits of devolving resources to local areas.”

James Muir, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Businesses tell us that publicly funded training for businesses can be hard to access and that the system is complicated. Skills Bank and our advisors can help businesses cut through this. This is good for the region, good for the profitability of businesses and helps grow the skills of our workforce. So long as a business can show that it helps boost productivity and grow our economy it should be a straightforward transaction. It’s win-win. I’m absolutely delighted that it has gone live.”

Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of Commercial Services and Partnerships at Calderdale College, said: “Skills Bank is a fantastic initiative for Sheffield City Region and we are thrilled to be in a position where we can support local businesses.

“Our focus will be on helping employers develop the skills they need to grow their business and we bring a huge amount of expertise from our many years of working closely with the Education and Skills Funding Agency on major funded training programmes.”

If you are an employer or a training provider and would like to find out more about Skills Bank, visit the website here.

AESSEAL Celebrates 40th Anniversary

posted 10 Apr 2019, 01:06 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 10 Apr 2019, 01:09 ]

Rotherham based AESSEAL®, the world's largest homogeneous mechanical seal manufacturer, is celebrating its 40th anniversary, with a series of events and a promise to continue investing and innovating.

The multi award winning company, which designs and makes mechanical seals and support systems for a wide range of global industries including oil and gas, food, water, mining and pharmaceuticals, has grown from a small distribution business to a £180m+ turnover business employing more than 1,800 people across the world.

Under founder and managing director Chris Rea, the company has recorded near constant growth over the four decades, investing in wide ranging innovation including the development of its modular range of seals and processes that ensures customers receive the same product no matter where they are in the world. In addition, the business has been lauded for its community work, extensive apprenticeship programme and education outreach - which runs from primary schools right through to doctorate level.

The 40th anniversary celebrations kicked off with a gala dinner at Sheffield City Hall where staff and special guests gathered to mark the company’s achievements, and thank all their employees for their continued support.

Founder Chris Rea said: “We are very proud of what has been achieved over the last 40 years, from humble beginnings to what is today recognised as a global, market-leading business, which employs hundreds of people and also gives back to the local community in the shape of sponsorships and education partnerships. We were keen to not only mark this milestone anniversary and acknowledge the people that have contributed to its success, but also to put our flag in the sand and outline our plans to continue to grow and innovate.”

Chris Rea purchased Aurora Engineers Supplies (where the ‘AES’ comes from) in 1979, as a small distributor of mechanical seals, with ten employees and an annual turnover of £400,000.

By 1983 AESSEAL® built its first manufacturing site on Mangham Road, Rotherham. Over the following years the mechanical seal range expanded, turnover grew to £2million and the company received the first of its 13 Queen’s Awards. Export sales grew, overseas offices were opened, and turnover increased year on year.

“Our achievements can also be attributed to our absolute commitment to continuous improvement – for both ourselves and our customers. After four decades of continued product development we believe we are in a very strong position - with a range of differentiated and enhanced patented technology for almost all Wet and Dry Gas Seal applications - and that we can secure as large a percentage of global applications as any other global mechanical seal supplier. Going forward our development will focus on emerging technologies and connecting the group’s consultancy and reliability business digitally to its physical product range, in order to offer the best possible service to customers.”

McLaren deliver first prototype chassis from new £50m Rotherham facility

posted 27 Mar 2019, 02:21 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 27 Mar 2019, 02:22 ]

The first prototype carbon fibre MonoCell, the tub that forms the main structure of McLaren’s cars, has been shipped from the company’s new £50m innovation and production centre in Rotherham to the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey.

Codenamed ‘PLT-MCTC - 01’ - which stands for ‘Prototype Lightweight Tub, McLaren Composites Technology Centre - 01’ - the tub completed its 175-mile journey to the British sportscars and supercar maker’s global headquarters from the McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC). There it will be involved with stringent crash testing duties.

The MCTC was opened on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham last year by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, as part of McLaren’s ambitious plans to increase the rate of innovation of its famous lightweight carbon fibre chassis that are at the heart of all its cars.

This will help the firm’s designers and engineers to find further weight savings as the company develops its next generation of vehicles as part of its ambitious Track25 business plan.

McLaren aims to win the automotive race to lightweight which will become ever more important as cars move towards hybrid powertrains which are generally heavier than their traditional petrol counterparts. All McLaren’s sportscars and supercars will be hybrid by 2024.

The MCTC currently employs around 60 people which will rise to over 200 when full production commences in 2020.

Carbon fibre has long been part of McLaren’s DNA, the company having first introduced the material into Formula 1 in the early 1980s. Given the material’s lightweight and strength characteristics, it hasn’t produced a road car without it since.

Wes Jacklin, Plant Director, MCTC, McLaren Automotive said:

“The delivery of the first prototype carbon fibre tub by the new MCTC to McLaren HQ is not only an exciting day for everyone who has directly worked on the project but also a significant milestone for McLaren Automotive’s ambition to be world-beaters in lightweight and composites technology which goes hand-in-hand with our move to hybrid powertrains as part of our Track25 business plan.

“We never innovate for the sake of it; we innovate to continually fulfil our promise to create iconic sportscars. It’s increasingly clear that with future heavier powertrain requirements, exploiting innovative lightweighting techniques and technologies is going to be a significant key to unlocking all the handling and agility characteristics that our customers demand.”

Metalysis welcomes MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) as Gen4 customer

posted 18 Mar 2019, 07:20 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 18 Mar 2019, 07:21 ]

Rotherham based Metalysis has announced the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), has become a customer through the Materials for Strategic Advantage research programme.

The order for titanium powder is the first that Metalysis has announced from its industrial plant, known as Gen4, housed within its Materials Manufacturing Centre in Wath upon Dearne.

It is the first facility of its kind in the world and Metalysis has spent more than a decade developing its technology from a Cambridge University breakthrough, to today providing industrial scale production for international aerospace, automotive, additive and advanced manufacturing applications.

In Q4, 2018, the Company successfully produced both of its intended Gen4 launch products: Titanium family alloys and an aluminium-scandium master alloy. Achieving this within the
plant’s first quarter of commercial operation has demonstrated the flexibility Metalysis’
technology has in producing, and switching between multiple periodic table elements to
generate demand driven, advanced alloys on a Just-in-Time basis.

Metalysis and Dstl are also partners on the FASTforge project. Led by The University of Sheffield,
FASTforge offers a new, cost effective route to produce aerospace grade titanium alloys.
Dr. Dion Vaughan, Metalysis CEO, said:

“Naturally, we are pleased to welcome Dstl as the first announced customer from our newly operating
industrial plant.

“Commencing production from Gen4 marked a positive outcome following years of technological
development. Dstl is a global leader in recognising and supporting scientific breakthroughs, and an ideal
customer for Metalysis."

SCR Skills Bank returns to provide funding support

posted 14 Feb 2019, 08:25 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 14 Feb 2019, 08:26 ]

The Skills Bank is returning to the Sheffield city region (SCR) to allow more businesses to tap into funding to upskill their workforce and grow their company.

The recent announcement of Calderdale College as the managing agent, sees the new phase of Sheffield City Region’s Skills Bank move a step closer to its official launch.

Skills Bank enables businesses to access funding provided by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), for bespoke training that responds directly to their needs and supports growth in their organisation.

Calderdale College will work closely with Sheffield City Region’s Growth Hub team to manage the funding and support local organisations with their applications.

The Growth Hub’s specialist skills advisors will also signpost businesses to other support and advice that might be available to help them to grow.

James Muir, the recently-appointed Chair of the LEP, said: “Sheffield City Region has an economy of more than £33bn, which has already grown by £1.34 billion between 2013 and 2015.

“Our target as a LEP is to further grow our region’s economy by 10% (£3.1 billion) before 2024 – and we are well on track to achieve these ambitions.

“Skills Bank is absolutely key to growing our region’s businesses, particularly SMEs. I’m therefore delighted to see that Calderdale College has been appointed, and that the next phase of Skills Bank is soon to launch.

“As well as enabling people to advance their careers, upskilling workers means increased productivity and ultimately more jobs and economic growth for the region as a whole – securing our position as a highly attractive place to start up, locate and invest.”

Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of Commercial Services and Partnerships at Calderdale College, said: “Skills Bank is a huge initiative for Sheffield City Region and we are thrilled to be appointed as the managing agent.

“At Calderdale College, our focus is on helping employers develop the skills they need to grow their business and this programme will do exactly that. We bring a huge amount of expertise from our many years of working closely with the Education and Skills Funding Agency on major funded training programmes. I’m pleased that we can add Skills Bank to our portfolio and look forward to the next phase.”

Skills Bank is due to launch in the coming weeks as part of the range of services offered by the Growth Hub, a gateway to support for businesses across Sheffield City Region. 

If you are an employer or a training provider and would like to find out more, please email 

Rotherham software firm driving growth

posted 5 Feb 2019, 01:47 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 5 Feb 2019, 01:48 ]

A Rotherham-based software and systems development firm has hired a strategic consultant as a permanent employee – after first working with him thanks to the support and advice of a local business support service.

Business Careware, which provides software to help clients manage meeting spaces and event availability, was keen to grow both in the UK and internationally.

Managing partner Paul Sykes contacted the Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO) to see if it could help in its role as a delivery partner of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project. 

The Enhancement Project offers a range of support aimed at high growth companies and is financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

RiDO Key Account Manager, Andrew Klinkenberg undertook an evaluation of Business Careware’s current position, the challenges it faced and the opportunities available to it.

He recommended the appointment of an external consultant to help develop a strategy from an objective, outsider’s perspective to help with their growth ambitions.

The consultant’s plans and ideas were so impressive that he ultimately accepted the offer of a position at Business Careware to continue driving further growth. 

Paul Sykes, managing partner at Business Careware, said: “We have worked with RiDO for a number of years; in fact, the assistance it provided was one of the benefits that we identified when deciding to relocate to Rotherham following our acquisition of the business.”

“I knew it would be able to help us when we decided we wanted to grow the business, but the support we have received has exceeded all my expectations.

“It has helped us accelerate our growth plans, develop opportunities that we would otherwise not have had access to, and develop our approach  – not least with the suggestion of bringing in a strategic consultant who has since joined our team.”

As a direct result of the support from RiDO, Business Careware is now hoping to expand into the US market with new contracts and relationships.

Paul added: “It has been fantastic for us and I would definitely advise other local businesses not to hesitate. The sooner you get in touch with RiDO, the better.”

The Enhancement Project provides businesses with intensive one-to-one support from a Key Account Manager and access to free Masterclasses delivered by private sector experts.

For more information about receiving support for your business, contact

Surplus Food Retailer Marks First Birthday

posted 29 Jan 2019, 07:53 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 29 Jan 2019, 07:54 ]

Food Circle Supermarket, the Rotherham-based online retailer of surplus food, turns one this month. 

The company, which sells surplus food products from well-known brands, has seen purchases rise dramatically over the past year, with well over 1000 orders now successfully delivered to happy customers across the UK.

The business, which launched in 2018 with support from the Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO) and other local support organisations, prides itself on being the only UK online retailer of surplus but “in-date” healthy food and drink products.

Co-founders Paul Simpson and James Barthorpe attribute their success to a number of factors, but not least the fact that customers can buy products at half the recommended retail price, whilst diverting food from landfill - cutting down on the UK’s huge food waste problem.

James Barthorpe, Co-Founder said: “The past year has been a busy one for us, we’ve moved into new premises twice due to expansion, got a new delivery partner, expanded our product range and have built up a very loyal customer base.”

The loyalty that James speaks of is in no way down to luck, but stems from the company’s personal approach to their customers, quick turnaround times and branded products.

Access through social media, combined with the ease of ordering through their e-commerce website, offers customers a simple way to purchase a range of quality, healthy products.

Paul Simpson said: “We’ve invested heavily in social media on Facebook and other platforms and this has really paid dividends, especially in the fitness and sports nutrition markets where we’ve seen a boom in sales from gym goers and other sports people.”

Earlier this year, the company moved to RiDO’s Matrix@Dinnington Business Centre, allowing for continued growth of the business, which aims to more than double orders over the course of 2019.

Andrew Klinkenberg, Key Account Manager at RiDO said: “James and Paul have achieved a huge amount in their first year, and should be proud of their achievements. This is in no small part down to their skills and experience, but also their willingness to engage support throughout the Sheffield City Region to constantly evolve the business.

"Their business model offers a win-win for all – great value products and a lower environmental impact. I can see the business going from strength to strength over the coming year with continued support from RiDO and the wider City Region."

For more information about receiving support for your business, contact

Strong results for sports clothing firm following Rotherham relocation

posted 11 Dec 2018, 07:17 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 11 Dec 2018, 07:18 ]

A strength and fitness clothing company has grown its staffing tenfold and doubled turnover after relocating to the Advanced Manufacturing Park, with support from Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO).

SBD Apparel, which manufactures premium performance clothing worn by elite strength and fitness athletes across the world, sought help from RiDO, a partner of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project, after moving its offices and warehouses closer to its main factory in Rotherham.

The Enhancement Project is financed by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

RiDO Key Account Manager, John Fox, advised the firm on possible locations and explained the incentives available from moving to a government-designated Enterprise Zone, which led to SBD deciding to base itself at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe.

RiDO then provided support to help SBD relocate staff from London to South Yorkshire and hire new employees to expand the business.

In the two years since relocating, SBD has increased turnover by 160 percent, growing its workforce from four members of staff to 41, and been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Benjamin Banks, CEO at SBD Apparel, said: “The support from RiDO has been very refreshing, proactive and wide ranging.

“Our move to the Advanced Manufacturing Park has paid dividends for us, with Enterprise Zone Status giving business rates relief and obviously our expansion and increased turnover.

“I would certainly encourage other businesses to contact RiDO and the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Enhancement Project for similar support.”

The Enhancement Project provides businesses with intensive one-to-one support from a Key Account Manager and access to free Masterclasses delivered by private sector experts.

For more information about receiving support for your business, contact

New furniture business branching out in Rotherham

posted 11 Dec 2018, 06:42 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 11 Dec 2018, 06:43 ]

A family-run business which specialises in manufacturing bespoke wooden furniture has launched in Rotherham after receiving a £500 grant from the UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) Kickstart Fund.

Sabin's Furniture was established in September 2018 by Lee Sabin and his son James and is the newest addition to the Wath based Bolton Road Business Park.

Producing unique, industrially designed furniture meeting individual customer specifications, the business manufactures pieces using locally sourced timber and metals – selling their goods online, as well as in small, independent retail units in the area. 

The support from UKSE - a subsidiary of Tata Steel tasked with assisting the economic regeneration of communities affected by changes in the steel industry - enabled the duo to market the business on opening, as well as to purchase some much needed tools.

Lee Sabin, owner of Sabin's Furniture, said: "Earlier this year James and I decided to combine our skill set – with him overseeing production, and me managing the business side of things – in order to pursue our dreams of working for ourselves and producing beautiful, bespoke furniture for our customers. 

"The £500 funding from UKSE was extremely useful, and it allowed us to purchase tools that we needed in order to get the business up and running, as well as fund an initial marketing campaign to raise awareness of the fact that we had opened. 

"Furthermore, the support and guidance that we have received from UKSE throughout the journey has been invaluable and we're excited to put all of our efforts into making the business a success!"

Alan Stanley of UKSE, added: "Both Lee and James are clearly very passionate about making this work and I have no doubt that their hardworking mentality and production of quality products will stand them in good stead for success – best of luck to them both."

Source: Rothbiz

Bodycote holds opening ceremony for new facility and announces further expansion

posted 10 Dec 2018, 05:54 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 10 Dec 2018, 05:55 ]

Bodycote, the world’s largest provider of heat treatments and specialist thermal processing services, held an official opening ceremony last week at its brand new facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

The new advanced heat treatment centre, now fully operational and supporting customer requirements, offers a range of heat treatment services and has been established to support the aerospace and power generation markets in the UK and Europe.

The Rotherham facility was officially opened by Andy Greasley, Executive Vice President of Rolls-Royce’s Turbines Supply Chain Unit, in recognition of the enduring partnership between Bodycote and Rolls-Royce. 

Mr. Greasley commented: “Heat treatment and processing is a vital part of our supply chain and Rolls-Royce are delighted to be supported by Bodycote on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham. Close coupling of this capability to our own Rolls-Royce business is critical for our future success and our relationship with Bodycote is one that we truly value.”

Also speaking at the event, AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) CEO, Colin Sirett, said the new centre will bring a key capability to the Advanced Manufacturing Park: “We’ve got everything from aircraft parts through to carbon fibre chassis for supercars all being manufactured on this site; the one piece of the process that was missing was materials processing. We can cast, we can forge, we can assemble, we can machine, but the one key element that was missing is exactly what Bodycote brings to the park. So it’s great to welcome the Bodycote team here and we are looking forward to working with them for many years to come.”

VIP delegates were also the first to hear about Bodycote’s plans for significant expansion of the new site, which includes the securing of extra units on the Advanced Manufacturing Park. 

Tom Gibbons, President of Bodycote’s Aerospace, Defence & Energy division, commented: “Due to customer demand and interest since the announcement of this new plant in July, we are investing in further capacity and technology. The additional space we secured here at Rotherham is nearly three times the size of our existing unit. We are committed to ensuring we are able to meet our customers’ demand in the years ahead.”

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