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Our city and region is ready for you and your business. Explore this snapshot to find out why.


Connected city

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Connected city

We have regional, national, European and global connections. To keep us ahead £1.3 billion will be invested in our networks by 2015.

Easy access to 400 million people across Europe

90% of UK consumers are within four hours travel time

High Speed 2 rail  – London in less than 45 minutes 

50 airlines serving more than 140 routes worldwide


Multi-sector strengths

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Multi-sector strengths

Our talented people use their skills and expertise across a range of key sectors.

60% of the UK’s automotive R&D from the region

More BPFS companies than Zurich, Manchester and Edinburgh

23,700 people in architecture and engineering

500 medical technology companies, more than any other UK region


Space to breathe

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Space to breathe

Birmingham was voted best UK city outside of London for quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living 2012).


With more than 600 parks and open spaces and Sutton Park as one of the largest urban parks in Europe there is always space to breathe

Slow down. Explore more miles of canal than Venice

Secure future - 10 Local Nature Reserves and 156 designated nature conservation sites


World class city of culture

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World class city of culture

Indoors, outdoors, participate, watch or find space and quiet to get away from it all. You will always be able to relax and unwind.

Birmingham was ranked among the New York Times’ top 20 international destinations to visit.

Explore cuisine from more than 27 countries and dine in more Michelin star restaurants than any other English city outside London

More than 500,000 works of art in one square mile


High quality workforce

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High quality workforce

Our large talent pool is highly ranked now. It will stay that way.

4.3 million people of working age within an hour of the city

Over 300,000 students and 100,000 graduates within an hour’s drive of the city

A digital hub - for example 21% of the UK's games industry workforce is here

Nearly 1 million people speak a second language


Growth engine

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Growth engine

Our £94 billion regional economy will grow 20% by 2020

Innovative economic zones generating £1.5bn and 50,000 new jobs

Home to 75,000 companies, 1,190 of which are international

Our population will grow to 1.17million by 2018 (ONS)

Birmingham New Street helps move nearly 25million passengers annually

Europe's youngest city, with under 25's nearly 40% of our population


Bold regeneration

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Bold regeneration

We are investing £18 billion by 2026 in a bold 21st Century regeneration plan.

£1.3 billion will be invested in road, rail and air networks by 2015

£25 million is going in to the Digital Media Academy and £188 million on the new Library of Birmingham

£600 million redevelopment of New Street Station is underway

Advanced Engineering

Greater Birmingham - the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, earning titles such as ‘Workshop of the World’ and ‘City of a Thousand Trades.’ This early industrial heritage aided the development of the Advanced Engineering sector, which began with bicycles, progressed to motor vehicles, and has now led to ground-breaking developments in hydrogen, electric and hybrid vehicle technology and other renewable energy production.

Home to over 4,100 advanced engineering companies; Greater Birmingham is a hub of advanced engineering activity. Together with investment in extensive advanced engineering sites, a highly skilled workforce and a strong precision engineering pedigree, it is an ideal location for firms to operate, grow, and carry out high value Research and Development. Additionally, the presence of leading manufacturers and a strong supply chain has created huge opportunities for SMEs to thrive and expand. 

Positioned centrally among vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, the region provides optimum access to the UK automotive market including seven volume car manufacturers, seven commercial vehicle manufacturers, and 17 of the world’s top 20 suppliers. This strategic location creates efficiencies in the supply chain, and contributes to the global competitiveness of the region.

The region’s universities continue to build on the area’s strong engineering heritage by producing talented graduates, with particular strengths in automotive and aerospace technologies and manufacturing - meeting the existing needs of the sector as well as an increasing specialism in low-carbon research and emerging technologies.

Advanced Engineering in Greater Birmingham 

  • 84,000 people are employed in advanced engineering in the Greater Birmingham area 
  • Over 13,000 jobs were created from Foreign Direct Investment in the last 10 years (MBRO data) 
  • Approximately 150,000 people are employed in manufacturing in the region 
  • 6 local universities produce 30,000 graduates per year, of which, 20,000 are in core subjects such as science, engineering and business 
  • EEF Technology Training centre in Aston enables access to state of the art training facilities and opportunities for learning, re-skilling and up-skilling from Apprentices through to Adult Learners
  • The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led education and training collaboration which aims to increase the pipeline of suitably skilled staff to respond to the growth of the sector. 

 

Advanced Engineering brochure

Advanced Engineering 

 

Key Strengths

Automotive

Greater Birmingham currently accounts for 30% of all automotive production in the UK, employing 26,000 people and providing the highest concentration of Tier 1 and 2 suppliers in the UK. Almost £1.5 billion worth of UK-based automotive Research and Development is also carried out here – accounting for more than 45% of the UK automotive industry’s Research and Development. 

The Automotive sector in Greater Birmingham

  • Greater Birmingham boasts the highest concentration of automotive employment in the UK.
  • Optimum access to all UK based automotive OEMs within a three hour drive and to all aspects of the auto supply chain, including Tier 1, 2, 3 suppliers.
  • 60% of all UK automotive production can be found within 100km of Birmingham.
  • 25,000 are employed directly in the automotive sector representing 16% of the UK’s workforce in this sector.

Aerospace 

Aerospace is a globally integrated industry with core competencies in systems that power and control aircraft. Specialisms include systems engineering, flight controls, landing gear and braking systems. 

The Aerospace sector in Greater Birmingham:

  • 25% of Rolls Royce’s UK supply chain can be found in the West Midlands.
  • Specialisms include: Systems controlling moving parts and engines - mechanical, pneumatic, electronic, hydraulic, Advanced aerospace materials and metals, Specialist engineering design.

Collaboration in research

Greater Birmingham is an undoubted centre of innovation in the advanced engineering industry. In particular, the city’s universities offer world-class research capabilities in a variety of fields and the wider Midlands region provides an epicentre of automotive innovation. 

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is a key founding partner in the development of the £40 million Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) at Ansty Park near Coventry. Its goal is simple: to become a world-class global research facility. The university also specialises in advanced materials, castings technology, low-carbon vehicles, new fuels, engine testing, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering, computational engineering and is home to the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre. Continually developing pioneering activities, the university has acquired brand new multi-fuel dynamometers enabling them to test hydrogen fuel cell cars around their campus.

Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham is Europe’s largest rail research group with a number of test rig facilities and leading expertise in:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Condition monitoring
  • Environmental and geotechnical engineering
  • Network optimisation
  • Power and traction systems
  • Real-time traffic management
  • Customised industry focussed training

Birmingham City University

Birmingham City Universityhave heavy engine dynamometers and environmental technologies whilst their knowledge-based engineering helps companies build the right strategies for optimum usage of equipment and technologies to drive business requirements. They also specialise in environmental technology, heavy fuel engine testing and recycled materials.

Aston University

Aston Universitycentres of excellence focus on Power Engineering and Power Electronics Group, and the Photonics Research Group. The Power Engineering and Power Electronics Group is an expanding research group that undertakes research into both theoretical and practical aspects of power electronics and its impact on electrical power networks, ranging from the analysis and management of hierarchical complex networks such as a power electronic system, through to hands-on industrial experience in distribution and transmission networks. The group has extensive links to industry and undertakes undergraduate teaching (primarily foundation degree) to major Power Utilities.  

Coventry University

Coventry Universityhas aworld-renowned design studio and specialisms in intelligent transport systems, metrology, aerodynamics, electrical systems, manufacturing problem solving and low-carbon vehicle technology.

University of Warwick

The University of Warwickis home to aworld acclaimed business school and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) – the latter specialising in mechanical and electrical engineering, new materials, 3D X-ray analysis and design walls, hybrid vehicles, joining technologies, manufacturing low-carbon technologies and battery technology. It also boasts one of Europe’s only measurement tools for volatile chemicals from interior trim as well as electronics and engine test beds.

Located at the University of Warwick, £92 million will be invested in the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) and research activities over a 15-year commitment between Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, WMG/University of Warwick and an expanding network of supplier companies.

The NAIC will focus on the long-term multi-disciplinary challenges outlined by the UK Automotive Council, such as electric vehicles (including energy storage and e-drives), carbon reduction (including hybrids, light-weighting and composites), smart and connected cars that include on-vehicle competence, driver assist technology and cyber security for connected vehicles. The NAIC will create a unique resource that fosters collaboration, cohesion and cross fertilisation of knowledge and that will provide a platform for greater involvement in EU-wide research programmes. The anticipated date of completion is autumn 2016.

Supporting the £1 billion industry and government commitment to the development of low carbon propulsion systems, the University of Warwick is to host the central hub of the newly created Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The central hub, together with a national Spoke structure, will provide the UK automotive industry with resources and facilities to develop advanced propulsion systems and supply chains.

The APC will incorporate over 30,000 people in the UK engaged in the research, development and production of vehicle powertrains, as the industry transitions to a low-carbon future for all modes of transportation. The APC will help forge partnerships between entrepreneurs and the industry, helping to bridge the gap between concepts and commercialisation, enabling projects that provide profitable growth to contribute to the UK’s prosperity.

Science City Research Alliance is a strategic union between the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick focussing capabilities in Advanced Materials and Energy Futures at these two leading universities, specialising in low-carbon technologies.

University of Wolverhampton

TheUniversity of Wolverhampton is continually growing its base in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the Faculty of Engineering’s specialties include applied research and knowledge transfer, pervasive computing, computer simulation for engineering, materials engineering, rapid manufacturing and metal forming.

The University also benefits from two direct metal laser sintering machines, one of the few machines in the UK capable of manufacturing titanium parts used by the aerospace, motor sport and other premium engineering sectors. 

The Advanced Manufacturing Hub

The Advanced Manufacturing Hub is based at the Aston Regional Investment Site and provides a wealth of opportunities for the growing automotive supply chain as well as other advanced engineering activity. £8 million of public sector investment in site assembly and access improvements has provided a ready-to-occupy site, currently being offered to the market in three phases over the next 10-15 years.

The site is at the centre of the UK motorway network and has good access to the major national transport routes such as the A38 (M) and, Junction 6 of the M6 providing easy access to the largest range of automotive supply chain opportunities in the UK.

Support for Businesses

Complementing Birmingham’s investments in infrastructure and future growth is an impressive series of incentives designed to help businesses prosper:

The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative

The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) is a funding competition designed to improve the global competitiveness of UK advanced manufacturing supply chains. Funding is available to support research and development, skills training and capital investment to help UK supply chains achieve world-class standards and encourage major new suppliers to locate in the UK.

Simplified Planning

A Local Development Order is in place for the Advanced Manufacturing Hub providing a simplified planning process that significantly reduces the lead in period for development making the transition of businesses into Birmingham quicker and easier.

Financial Support

There are various business support loans and grants currently available to help businesses set up and thrive in the region.  These can range from start-up loans to large scale supply chain development grants.

Training and Recruitment

Birmingham City Council has access to the Birmingham Jobs Fund for employing a young Birmingham person aged 16-24. Up to £3,000 per person can be claimed for apprenticeships and up to £4,550 can be claimed for non-apprenticeship opportunities. 

Case Studies

Greater Birmingham is home to some of the world’s biggest names in advanced engineering with a number of companies locating their headquarters or significant operations in the area as part of their global footprint. This concentration gives both a breadth and depth with OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, leading independent consultancies and well developed supply chains supporting companies ranging from global players to specialist, niche SMEs. 

Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is a British multinational automotive company that sells vehicles in almost 180 markets globally with 80% of production exported from the UK. With an advanced manufacturing plants in Solihull and Castle Bromwich, and an R&D facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire, Jaguar Land Rover employ over 25,000 people in the UK and 1,000 more globally and support 190,000 people through the supply chain, dealer network and wider economy. Jaguar Land Rover has invested £370 million in the Solihull facility to support the production of the all-new Range Rover. The all-new Range Rover is a good example of the kind of innovation that is being developed in the region – for example it is the world's first SUV to feature an advanced all-aluminium body structure, delivering significantly reduced weight, improved performance and enhanced sustainability. 

Castle Bromwich produces the full range of Jaguar vehicles and boasts some of the most advanced aluminium body construction facilities in the world. Jaguar Land Rover has made a significant investment in the plant to prepare for the launch of the all-new Jaguar F-TYPE Coupe range in Spring 2014 which complements the '2013 World Car Design of the Year' award-winning F-TYPE Convertible. To meet the demand for vehicles; Jaguar Land Rover invested £200 million in its Castle Bromwich plant and hired an additional 1,100 staff to support the launch of its new models.

Jaguar Land Rover is investing further in the region by building a new £500 million Engine Manufacturing Centre, which will build the new family of high-output, fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines.

A further investment of £1.5 billion is being made to introduce an all-new technically-advanced aluminium vehicle architecture in forthcoming models and, to support this, 1,700 new jobs will be created in Solihull. 

Rimstock Plc

Rimstock is a world leading manufacturer of alloy wheels for the Original Equipment (OE) and Aftermarket. Based in the Black Country for over 30 years, it is also the premier producer of aluminium wheels in the United Kingdom, with one of the largest and most advanced design and manufacturing facilities of any wheel producer in the UK. Employing almost 250 people from multiple sites in West Bromwich, Rimstock is proud of its roots and its highly global customer portfolio. Its manufacturing facilities operate from four purpose built production installations extending to 150,000 ft2.

Originally focusing on low pressure alloy casting around ten years ago, Rimstock decided to focus on developing technology and forged wheel capabilities, a bold move in a competitive sector of the market but one that has seen the business flourish with new forged wheel facilities complimenting the existing cast alloy business.

Rimstock is an example of the region’s versatility, being able to adapt to any technical challenge, whether it be durability and styling of Original Equipment and Aftermarket sectors, speed and weight conscious motorsport, hi-tech super light forgings, concept car one offs or security and defence sector resistance.

In its relentless pursuit of excellence, Rimstock is committed to the continuous development of new technologies, maintaining its position as a market leader in one of the most competitive industries within the automotive sector. This has been achieved from the company's attainment of the ultimate motor industry quality award of the coveted QS9000, alongside being the first European wheel manufacturer to achieve the ISO9001 standard.

ACE Forming

ACE Forming is one of the UK’s leading prototype engineering companies, offering a complete service for both prototype and production metal forming.

Initially set up in Halesowen in 2002 as an independent company to provide prototype engineering services, when given the choice to move to larger premises due to expansion, ACE Forming was determined to stay in the Black Country. The company chose The Pennsnet Estate in Kingswinford for the skilled workforce inherent in the local area with the addition of many local sub-contractors.

Many of ACE Forming's clients are also located close by, who are primarily blue chip companies and product developers. These range from different fields including aerospace, medical, telecom, electronic and automotive industries. ACE Forming also undertakes specialist fabrication, assembly projects and manufacture wiring looms.

ACE Forming demonstrates the excellent availability of talent that is apparent in the region, having developed a local team of highly skilled staff who are helping the company succeed in a competitive sector.

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