The Brighouse Deal is set to put high-tech manufacturing at the heart of the town’s future by creating an Industry 4.0 Hub where small and medium sized businesses can explore how digital technology can improve their productivity and increase innovation.
Calderdale College is leading 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, set to be housed at Kirkdale House and Calderdale College’s newly established Engineering Centre on the Armytage Road Industrial Estate, will be kitted out with high-tech equipment to showcase augmented reality, advanced manufacturing and robotics.
The new site will have capacity for 70 apprenticeships to be delivered as part of the Deal project, and a range of new short training programmes designed to help employers upskill their current workforce will be offered to those already pursuing a career in manufacturing.
This development of a ‘living lab’ will aim to provide support to the town’s existing small, medium and micro-business community.
The Brighouse Deal, led by the Brighouse Town Deal Board and Calderdale Council, is due to bring £19 million of investment with a series of projects including revitalising the market, developing Thornton Square and improving the town centre to encourage visitors and shoppers to stay longer and spend more.
The plans are currently being developed with business cases due to be submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities by the end of July. Assuming funding is provided, it is anticipated the delivery of projects will begin in 2023.
The Industry 4.0 Hub is a key part of the Deal’s ambition to not just improve the town for today, but to ensure it is a catalyst for further investment in the years to come.
When established, it is likely the Hub will be the only facility of its kind in Yorkshire dedicated to supporting Industry 4.0 digital technologies with an exclusive focus on small and medium sized businesses.
Ebrahim Dockrat, commercial services and partnership director at Calderdale College, said: “We are excited about the potential that the Industry 4.0 Hub will bring to Brighouse. Uniting to support the development and retention of highly skilled labour will, in turn, contribute to the economic growth of the manufacturing sector across the district.
“The funding will be a magnet for further investment, allowing the area to continue upskilling and work to reduce income inequality between Brighouse and the wider region. Calderdale College is proud to be leading the project and looks forward to working with our partners, businesses across the town, Calderdale Council and the Brighouse Town Deal Board to deliver real change in the local area.”
David Whitehead, co-chair of The Brighouse Town Deal Board and Managing Director of Brighouse-based specialist textile finishers H & C Whitehead, said: “Brighouse has such a proud and strong manufacturing heritage, so it is exciting to see a key part of the Deal being to ensure it has an equally proud and strong future in the town, with a particular focus on the small and growing businesses who are the engine room of our economy.
“By funding training for young people, and providing facilities for growth, sharing skills and collaboration across Brighouse, there will be more opportunities available making our town an even more attractive place to work, stay and progress.
“It will be a catalyst for investment in our town and is another important way the £19 million the Brighouse Deal will bring to our town is unlocking so much more potential.”
Cllr Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for towns, engagement and public health, said: “Through our Vision2024 for Calderdale, we want to be a place where everyone can reach their potential. The Industry 4.0 Hub will bring exciting new opportunities for local people and businesses, supporting our inclusive economic recovery and building on Brighouse’s strengths and our long local history of manufacturing to become a more enterprising and talented town.”