A major new state-of-the-art skills hub is set to be established in Brighouse, supporting high-tech manufacturing and creating opportunities for local people and businesses.
The Industry 4.0 Skills Hub is supported by Calderdale Council as part of the Brighouse Deal, with approximately £650,000 of Town Deal funding being invested in the project. Industry 4.0 is also called the fourth industrial revolution, enhancing computers and automation with smart and autonomous systems informed by sensors, data and machine learning.
From April, work is beginning to transform Kirkdale House on the Armytage Road Industrial Estate into a skills hub that will feature high-tech equipment to showcase augmented reality, advanced manufacturing and robotics.
Calderdale College is leading on the delivery of the project alongside the University of Huddersfield, Textile Centre of Excellence, West Yorkshire Manufacturing Services and Calderdale & Kirklees Manufacturing Alliance.
The hub is due to open in September 2023 for the new academic year and will have opportunities for 70 apprenticeships. There will also be a range of short training programmes to support small and medium sized businesses, helping them to upskill their current workforce, improve productivity and increase innovation.
The Industry 4.0 Skills Hub is the first of five projects to be delivered in Brighouse as part of the Brighouse Town Deal, with £19.1 million to be invested in the town as part of the Government’s Towns Fund. Other projects set to transform the town include plans to revitalise the market, make Thornton Square into a flexible public space and improve the town centre to make it a more pleasant environment for visitors and shoppers to spend time.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Engagement and Public Health, Cllr Sarah Courtney, said:
“As part of the Brighouse Town Deal project, we’re excited to support the plans for the Industry 4.0 Skills Hub. The facility will include the latest technology and equipment to support the growth of digital and manufacturing skills, benefitting existing local businesses and individuals through the planned apprenticeship programme.
“This dedicated facility will put Brighouse at the heart of high-tech manufacturing, creating opportunities in this highly skilled sector. It will also support our ambitions for thriving towns by boosting employment opportunities and harnessing the borough’s existing talent and enterprising nature.”
Cllr Howard Blagbrough, Co-Chair of the Brighouse Town Deal Board, said:
“The Industry 4.0 Skills Hub will be the first project delivered as part of the £19.1 million Town Deal, and is a symbol of what we hope The Brighouse Deal will mean for our town.
“By providing more training opportunities for individuals, support for businesses looking to modernise and grow, and a focus for collaboration for the firms that are the engine room of our economy, we are confident the Hub will be a catalyst for investment.
“Brighouse has a strong manufacturing heritage, so it is absolutely right we put it at the heart of our future as we write a new chapter in the story of our town.”
Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of Commercial Services & Partnerships at Calderdale College, said:
“The Brighouse Town Deal investment has come at a time when engineering businesses need it most, as the country faces significant economic and skills challenges.
“We are delighted to be leading the work with local partners so that we can deliver innovative apprenticeships and training that will support employers with optimising their efficiency and productivity, helping them achieve more and do so in a competitive way using the latest technologies.”
In September 2019, the Government announced a £3.6 billion Towns Fund to support 101 Town Deals across England. Brighouse was one of those successful at bidding for investment, receiving £19.1 million for projects over the next four years.
The Brighouse Deal is co-ordinated by The Brighouse Town Deal Board, a group of individuals made up of representatives from the community and business with a distinct aim, to deliver the Town Deal approved by the Government. The Board works with Calderdale Council, Brighouse BID, Visit Brighouse and many other organisations across the town and beyond. For more information about the Brighouse Deal, visit www.brighousedeal.co.uk(external link)
Talent and enterprise are key themes of the Vision 2024 for Calderdale. The year 2024 marks Calderdale’s 50th birthday. Where do we want to be by 2024? Get involved with the debate on Twitter with #VisionCdale2024 and find out more at www.calderdale.gov.uk/vision