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Business leaders in the West Suffolk Manufacturing Group unite to foster industry excellence



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A key business working group has held its first face-to-face gathering since Covid regulations have been lifted.

The West Suffolk Manufacturing Group (WSMG) recently met at the new Suffolk Park headquarters of global ingredients manufacturer, Treatt.

The group was founded in January 2019 by representatives from the private and public sectors to both champion and support the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector within West Suffolk, including Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Brandon.

Members of the West Suffolk Manufacturing Group met at Treatt's new headquarters at Suffolk Park. Picture by Chris Morris
Members of the West Suffolk Manufacturing Group met at Treatt's new headquarters at Suffolk Park. Picture by Chris Morris

It is supported by New Anglia LEP, New Anglia Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, West Suffolk College, Hethel Innovation, and West Suffolk Council, who were instrumental in its formation.

Now 40 strong, it is made up from a range of small to large companies from the engineering or manufacturing sector and is free to join.

Last week, around 30 representatives attended the first face-to-face meeting since the pandemic. Meetings have until now been held virtually using Zoom.

Group chair, Richard Bridgman, Treatt CEO, West Suffolk Councillor Susan Glossop.
Group chair, Richard Bridgman, Treatt CEO, West Suffolk Councillor Susan Glossop.

The business leaders were given a tour of Treatt’s new headquarters at Suffolk Park and a talk by City and Guilds about skills changes in the country.

Richard Bridgman, chair of the group, and who runs Warren Services, said: “We meet three or four times a year to share experience, knowledge and ideas.

"The latest meeting focused one of the key issues of the moment, that of training, skills and apprenticeships and proved very useful. The tour of Treatt's new building was also very enlightening.

"I would encourage more companies to join us to help further excellence in the region."

Susan Glossop, West Suffolk Council cabinet member for growth, said: “Manufacturing and Engineering is a key business sector in West Suffolk and one with lots of potential for further growth for the benefit of the economy and our local communities.

"We and our partners are investing £12.1m in new incubation units to support locally, the growth of the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) sector.

"This will provide much needed space for new businesses to flourish and be supported and encourage jobs growth.

"We are pleased to have helped establish and be working with this group to identify the support this sector needs. Through close working, we and our partners can look at how we can address issues such as skills gaps and access to sources of funding.

"Together, we are working toward a common aim: the continued success and growth of manufacturing excellence in West Suffolk.”

To find out more, visit: www.naame.co.uk