ADVANCED MANUFACTURING SEPTEMBER 2019
Exciting times ahead
The future of travel is set to be
revolutionary, and will safeguard
thousands of jobs across the
West Midlands and the rest
of the UK. The opportunities
for businesses in the region
are signifi cant. As CWLEP’s
Browning says: “These are
exciting times for the region and
the industry because we are also
at the centre of UK transport
innovation with signifi cant
research and design facilities
and transport demonstration
expertise for self-driving cars as
well as leading the way in smart
motorway management to very
light rail. The West Midlands
is the premier centre for the
automotive sector with fi rms
employing 46,500 people and we
support more automotive jobs
than any other Local Enterprise
“Future markets and our
assets such as the worldrenowned
Warwick and Coventry
University, the UK Mobility
Data Institute and the Advanced
Propulsion Centre UK, among
many others, are building longterm
additional growth and
improving productivity for the
entire UK industry.”
A signifi cant part of the Future Mobility Zone
project focuses on rail travel, in particular
exploring how new infrastructure can
complement the existing network. Already
a major hub for train travel, the West
Midlands, and Birmingham in particular,
is set to become the fi rst terminus of
the HS2 project. The West Midlands
Combined Authority area is responsible
for 49,000 railway-related jobs – the
joint second-highest concentration of
all UK regions outside of London.
In the West Midlands, the rail
industry consists of companies
operating largely within rail supply (43%), railway
systems (32%), and induced impacts (22%).
Around 2,700 people in Birmingham alone are specifi cally employed within railway
engineering, making the city the UK’s largest regional rail hub, o ering a deep and
established talent pool. A further 109,000 work for transport companies in the region.
This knowledge and heritage has seen a major rail operator establish its UK
headquarters in the West Midlands. DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH (DB E&C) is
the engineering and consultancy arm of Deutsche Bahn (DB) – one of the biggest train
operators and rail infrastructure managers in the world.
The investment DB E&C is making in the West Midlands is creating highly skilled
jobs in the rail supply chain and supporting the UK rail industry to meet its goals to
develop vital engineering skills for the sector.
The fi rm is also establishing a partnership with the University of Birmingham
to create career opportunities for graduates and open the door for potential
collaborative research projects with DB’s R&D teams.
CWLEP says the
region is set
for signifi cant
CENTURIES OF INNOVATION: THE WEST MIDLANDS’ HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS
WALSALL Security Printers developed and printed the world’s fi rst
self-adhesive stamps in the 1960s. Today, more than 70% of its output
is produced for overseas markets, including Europe and Japan.
In 1777, BIRMINGHAM-based engineer James Watt
patented a ‘letter copying machine’ to deal with the
mass of paperwork at his business. It’s credited as the
fi rst ever photocopier. By the 1820s, 75% of everything
written in the world was with a Birmingham pen.
In the mid-1800s,
Starley created the
fi rst practical bicycle.
home to Britain’s
fi rst cycle factory,
penny-farthing in 1871.
Along with plants at Castle Bromwich and
Wolverhampton, Jaguar Land Rover’s SOLIHULL
factory is part of a vast manufacturing network
across the West Midlands.
Every plane fl ying in the sky
today contains actuators
made by Moog in
Moog, whose history in
the city dates back to
1938, supplies the global
In 1712, Thomas Newcomen
and his partner John Calley
built the fi rst fuel-burning
engine at the Conygree
Coalworks near DUDLEY.
In 1832, Chance Brothers and Co of Smethwick
in SANDWELL were the fi rst company to adopt
the cylinder method of producing sheet glass.
They became the largest British manufacturer of
window glass, plate glass and optical glasses.
Map: Ingo Menhard/stock.adobe.com