CONSTRUCTION has started on the flagship National Manufacturing Institute Scotland facility at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland in Renfrewshire.

The main contractor, Morrison Construction, has begun laying the foundations at the 3.5 hectare site next to Glasgow Airport and is working towards ensuring the building will be awarded BREEAM “outstanding” for sustainability – the highest accolade for sustainability in UK construction.

As the HQ of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), the new building will house a fully digitalised “factory of the future”, skills academy and collaboration hub that will bring manufacturers together to work on the development of innovative new manufacturing technologies and products. It will support manufacturing and engineering firms of all sizes and from all sectors across the country, and internationally, to innovate and grow their businesses in the global market.

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NMIS is a group of industry-led manufacturing and engineering research and development facilities operated by the University of Strathclyde and supported by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and Renfrewshire Council.

John Reid, CEO of NMIS, said: “It has been a challenging year for many in the manufacturing sector, but for some it has also brought real opportunity. As we look to the future, taking into account the climate emergency and Brexit, as well as the recovery from the pandemic, as a sector it is certain that we will face many more challenges but also, more opportunities will be there for the taking.

“The continual growth of NMIS will ensure manufacturers in Scotland and beyond are able to access the latest technologies and expertise that will help de-risk their innovation efforts and boost the skills of the manufacturing workforce of today and tomorrow. This will enable businesses to make the most of all future opportunities, creating a bigger, stronger and more sustainable manufacturing sector.”

Hailing construction as a “major step forward”, Strathclyde principal professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “The challenges of the pandemic highlight the need for a venture such as NMIS in terms of national capability, resilience and economic opportunity. Manufacturing in Scotland can help ensure the nation has a competitive place in the global market.

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“The resources, skills and experience offered by NMIS, allied to the ambition and dedication of those who work there, are in place to deliver high quality manufacturing globally and economic value nationally.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “I have no doubt NMIS will play a vital role in the sustainable growth of Scottish manufacturing and attract major manufacturers to locate in Renfrewshire within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS).

“Manufacturing employs thousands of people in Renfrewshire and is central to our recovery and renewal from the impact of Coronavirus. We look forward to working closely with colleagues at NMIS to further enhance the knowledge and skills of the local workforce and inspire young people to pursue careers in the manufacturing jobs of the future.”