Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor, James Palmer, met this week with the new Chair of the Combined Authority Business Board, Professor Aamir Khalid at TWI's Granta Park headquarters. The leaders opened up talks on future strategy for the region's multi varied businesses, discussing regional development opportunities and the need for significant infrastructure investment in support of the recent Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER).
Professor Khalid said, "The new Business Board has a clear mandate in line with CPIER and the government's industrial strategy - to advise, support and create new opportunities for businesses, be they sole traders, small scale start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or larger organisations. As a region we already have a strong performing economy but it is important we continue to work to meet local industry needs and create the sustainable means for growth."
A further focus of the Mayor James Palmer's discussions with Professor Khalid covered the scope to expand existing links between industry and academia in the region and how such partnerships spark innovation and greater prospects for business.
TWI is the world-leading establishment for expertise in materials, joining, advanced manufacturing and structural integrity technologies. Alongside its industrial partners, it has customised a successful process for the transfer of knowledge and skills - expanding research from its origins in consultancy, international standards and professional advice, into sector-specific industry programmes and collaborative research alongside training and certification, and postgraduate education. More recently it has been building on its connections with over 40 universities to launch a collection of forward-thinking innovation centres for the rapid take-up of new technologies and manufacturing techniques. TWI is also providing a catalyst for private R&D money injection from leading UK companies and overseas organisations.
The Mayor spoke at length with advanced level apprentices from TWI's technology laboratories and to postgraduate degree students - all working on-site while studying and gaining valuable experience on real industry projects.
TWI is also highly active in STEM, particularly in promoting engineering sciences for young women through its recently founded Tipper Group. Apprentices, students and staff pass on knowledge and knowhow to pupils from local schools and colleges through fun engineering activities including Welding with Chocolate and a Lego Mindstorms Defect Detectives challenge.
Pictured: Welding with Chocolate outreach demo. Left to right, Mayor James Palmer with Chair of Business Board, Aamir Khalid and the Tipper Group's Kamer Tunchbilek and Marion Bourebrab