BLOG: Chris Dungworth - "Manufacturing and Engineering is alive, well and thriving in Doncaster"

A blog from Business Doncaster's Head of Service, Chris Dungworth, discussing Doncaster's manufacturing excellence.

Doncaster is a manufacturing town! There I have said it.

For too long it has been said Doncaster has lost its manufacturing / engineering identity. People say look at the IPort, look at Armthorpe - we are now a town full of logistics sheds with low level employment, we have lost ICI, International Harvesters, Ford, Crompton Lighting and others.

All of this is true but people don’t tend to see the bigger picture. Manufacturing and engineering is still alive, well and thriving in Doncaster. Companies in Doncaster still manufacture world-class goods that are sold and used on world renowned structures and products globally.

We still have Ardagh Glass at Kirk Sandall producing millions of glass bottles which is powering the drinks industry. Polypipe is still a world leader in plastic drainage and building products. Peglar, established for years in Doncaster, is still a leading supplier of advanced plumbing, heating and engineering products globally. Bridon Bearkart are still investing and selling their ropes and wire across the globe to structure the oil and gas industry and build stadiums and bridges. All of these well-established companies are experts in their field and employ many Doncaster residents.

The rail industry, long seen as the backbone of Doncaster’s engineering base, continues to flourish. Recognised companies such as Wabtec Rail, Unipart Rail and Volker Rail still have a large presence in the town. Other companies are winning contracts and expanding. There is also the new Siemens rail manufacturing facility being built in nearby Goole which will bring forward new opportunities for businesses in the supply chain to locate in Doncaster and the plant will employ a number of Doncaster residents.

Some of our smaller SME businesses are now growing and establishing reputations for quality products and services and supplying new and growing industrial sectors. Companies such as Agemaspark at Kirk Sandall, specialists in precision engineering, are utilising new technology across a range of industries. Firma Engineering in Balby are supplying design and product development structures to companies working in emerging technologies. Hallam Castings in Thorne compete in global markets supplying a range of die cast products to a number of world-renowned organisations.

New industries and emerging technology companies are establishing themselves in the town. Companies such as Clean Power Hydrogen in Wheatley are developing and manufacturing green hydrogen technology products to be used across the world and Energise Energy Solutions, based at Finningley, is a leading specialist in electric vehicle charging points and are expanding rapidly.

There are many more example of companies situated on business parks across the whole of the town that go under the radar.

Business Doncaster continues to give the manufacturing and engineering sector the priority it deserves. We are now competing with our illustrious neighbours in Sheffield and Rotherham for new investment and successes are starting to happen. Hitachi Rail have fully embedded and established their rail engineering business here and in recent months, we have seen Fitrite Engineering, PJD Engineering and Dual Inventive locate their engineering businesses to Doncaster.

In the near future, with our assistance, we will see a new inward investment of national significance announced which will bring hundreds of new manufacturing jobs to Doncaster.

Why is it happening now?

We have a compelling offer. There is site availability, incentives and the quality of customer service offered to new and indigenous investors is making a real difference.

Man designing on computer

We have sites available that are ideal for manufacturing, engineering companies who are looking to expand and need a facility near to road, rail and air networks. With 87% of the UK population reachable in four hour’s drive time, that’s millions of customers, suppliers, and connections right on your doorstep! 

Gateway East at Doncaster Sheffield Airport is geared up for aerospace, advanced manufacturing and associated technologies. Links which are already underway with the world renowned Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham are starting to bear fruit in terms of the research support offered for companies locating on the site.

The Unity Project adjacent to Junction 5 of the M18 on the site of the old Hatfield Colliery is one of the largest mixed use development schemes currently under construction in the UK. Approximately 160 acres of land is dedicated to industrial use with a number of manufacturers in discussion already with us due to the potential attractiveness of the site.

The IPort, close to junction 3 of the M18, although predominantly a logistics site still has 2.5 million sq ft available suitable for manufacturers looking to use multi modal forms of transport who can take advantage of the on-site UK and Europe wide connected rail port.

Further land is available in Carcroft and Thorne and the Doncaster local plan, shortly to be adopted, will include over 1000 acres of employment land.

Having land is fine but to attract new investment we need to see commercial buildings going up to satisfy this future demand. Business Doncaster works closely with commercial developers and close partnerships with the likes of Verdion, St Modwen, Trebor Developments and Waystone have proved beneficial with buildings going up quickly and attracting tenants. We, however, are looking to see more of it and are encouraging developers looking to invest to come forward and talk to us about the excellent offer in Doncaster.

We also need the engineers of the future to take up positions with companies bringing their business to Doncaster. We have a skilled workforce but new educational facilities such as the industry supported University Technical College with an engineering specialism and the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (NCATI) already established here means that the future is bright for future generations of Doncaster people looking to work in manufacturing industries.

To sum up, we are excited!

We are excited about our future and about new manufacturing, engineering and green jobs coming to Doncaster. We have a platform for growth second to none and a team ready to help and make a positive difference.

If you are interested about hearing what Doncaster has to offer contact our Business Doncaster team on 01302 735555. We are ready to assist.

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