On Wednesday (July 3) the Department for International Trade’s Midlands Engine team welcomed a delegation from the South West of Ireland in Coventry at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) for the launch of the British Embassy lead programme Joining the Dots. The initial launch of the initiative was in Ireland in November 2018 with the Cork Chamber.
The report details areas for growth while making recommendations to promote stronger partnerships and collaboration between the two regions.
The 45 companies and organisations come from a variety of sectors, including agri-tech, ICT, cyber, precision engineering and manufacturing, and financial services. After a tour of the MTC, delegates saw the signing of a partnership agreement between MTC and the Irish Manufacturing Research, and then attended the report launch.
The delegation met with local businesses and stakeholders in the Midlands to learn more about scaling in the Midlands as well as investing and buying in the UK regions.
Putting the Midlands at the heart of the UK’s global-facing economy is a key part of the Government’s Midlands Engine strategy to boost prosperity and economic growth. Just last week, the Department for International Trade announced 6,867 new jobs have been created across the Midlands by 234 foreign direct investment projects in 2018/19.
Representatives from local government, academia, and enterprise and development agencies also attended. The event was an opportunity for Midlands businesses to meet South West Ireland businesses and decision makers involved in the Irish Government’s €116bn development programme.
Day two of the trip will see the delegation take study tours of Malvern Science Park and Harper Adams University, a specialist institution for rural and agriculture studies.
Karen Ball, Head of DIT’s Midlands Engine Investment Hub said:
The South West of Ireland and the Midlands share interests in fast growing sectors such as manufacturing and IT and today’s visit, with the signing of an MoU between the Manufacturing Technology Centre and the Irish Manufacturing Research, is a true representation of these shared interests.
I hope to see many more visits like today’s and with the UK launch of Joining the Dots initiative I am confident that our two regions will continue to work closely to find new partnerships and collaborations to boost economic growth and innovation.
Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland said:
Today’s report launch is the next stage in our Joining the Dots journey and builds on the enthusiasm shown at the Irish launch in Cork last year. For companies in the South West of Ireland, the report highlights that the UK remains a key target market with untapped opportunities. Similarly, Ireland is seen as a logical first step for many UK companies seeking to test their capability in overseas markets.
We are also celebrating a new collaboration, highlighting the appetite for partnership and innovation. I’m delighted that, today, Irish Manufacturing Research and the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre signed an MoU agreeing to work together to help companies with new technologies apply them industrially and commercially.
Notes to the editor
The Midlands Engine
The Midlands Engine is a coalition of Councils, Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), Universities and businesses across the region, actively working with Government to drive economic and productivity and position the Midlands firmly on the world stage.
The Midlands Engine Partnership’s vision for Growth includes five priority areas to ensure the Midlands drives the UK economy:
- Connecting the Midlands through maximising new technologies to deliver a radical transformation of the Midlands transport network.
- Tackling the mismatch between business skills needs and the skill levels of Midlands residents.
- Growing International Trade and Investment in existing and new markets
- Increasing Innovation and Enterprise, creating an environment where our science and innovation strengths can be maximised
- And, Shaping Great Places by promoting the Midlands as a great place to live, visit, learn and work.
About Joining the Dots
Joining the Dots – is a British Embassy led programme that promotes economic links and opportunities between regions of the UK and the South West and West of Ireland. Launched in November 2018 in partnership with Cork Chamber of Commerce the report identified untapped opportunities to connect business, researchers and academia to promote UK – Irish economic growth. Since its launch in November, the Embassy has been working with partners including Cork Chamber and the Department for Foreign Affairs on an agreed programme including today’s event and study tours with partners in the UK Midlands. Joining the Dots is extending to encompass Kerry and Limerick with activity being planned in late 2019 and early 2020.
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers. The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.
IMR is headquartered in Rathcoole, and has a European Digitisation for Manufacturing Pilot Facility in the National Science Park, Mullingar. Their research aims to improve productivity, efficiency and sustainability, positioning Ireland to achieve global leadership in advanced manufacturing through applied relevant research. Together with their industrial members and academic partners, they are engaging in some of the most exciting research into advanced manufacturing methods and processes being carried out globally.
The Department for International Trade
The Department for International Trade (DIT) secures UK and global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment, and championing free trade. We are an international economic department, responsible for:
- Bringing together policy, promotion and financial expertise to break down barriers to trade and investment, and help businesses succeed
- Delivering a new trade policy framework for the UK as we leave the EU
- Promoting British trade and investment across the world
- Building the global appetite for British goods and services
- Latest statistics from the ONS show UK firms sold more overseas in the 2018/19 financial year, £639.9 billion, than at any time since records began
- The UK has now achieved 36 consecutive months of export growth on an annual rolling basis
- It comes as separate OECD data reveals UK exports grew faster than Germany, France and Italy between 2016 and 2018
- The Export Strategy sets out how the government will support businesses of all sizes to make the most of the opportunities presented by markets around the world.
- A government-led collaboration with business, developed after extensive engagement with a range of UK firms – the Strategy sets a new ambition from government to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP to 35%.
- It presents a streamlined and targeted offer for businesses of all sizes, set to raise productivity, boost wages and protect employment across the UK.
- This is just the start – in the months ahead DIT will lead work across government to assess what more we can do to support UK business to achieve a step change in their exporting performance.