High tech manufacturing hub planned for town

An Industry 4.0 Hub where small and medium sized businesses can explore how digital technology can improve their productivity and increase innovation is planned for Brighouse.

This project forms part of The Brighouse Deal investment initiative. 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 have high-tech equipment to showcase augmented reality, advanced manufacturing and robotics.

It will have capacity for 70 apprenticeships to be delivered as part of the Deal project, and a range of short training programmes designed to help employers upskill their current workforce will be offered to those already pursuing a career in manufacturing.

It aims 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 £19m worth 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.

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.

Ebrahim Dockrat

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.”

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.

David Whitehead

“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.”

Councillor Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for towns, engagement and public health, added: “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.”