Royal approval for manufacturer’s £6m factory

Credit: Bruce Rollinson

The Duke of Kent gave the royal seal of approval to William Cook group after visiting the engineering firm’s new £6m precision factory, which is opening up important markets for the company.

The Queen’s cousin toured the factory with chairman Sir Andrew Cook and spoke with the firm’s latest apprentice intake.

The Duke told guests: “It is a great pleasure to come to a thriving Yorkshire company and see how well you are doing.”

The state-of-the-art facility combines the latest 3D printing, investment casting and robotics technology to allow the rapid manufacture of complex components.

Earlier this year, William Cook welcomed the largest intake of apprentices in recent history.

The company is looking for new apprentices to join its Leeds rail plant, which has recently completed a £10m investment programme.

Sir Andrew recalled meeting the Duke at the Cutlers’ Hall in 1986.

He said: “I am very pleased that His Royal Highness has come to see our Sheffield factory 31 years later.

“We have been through some trials and tribulations but we have prospered over that time and kept a lot of people in employment.”

He added: “William Cook has been in this city since the late 19th century and our investment means we will have an important role to play in the city region’s future as a high-value manufacturer of complex components for the energy, defence, rail and aerospace sectors.

“We were especially pleased to be able introduce the Duke to our apprentices, who have the potential to become the leading designers, engineers and technicians of the 21st century.”