Scottish Enterprise is backing a series of projects designed to make rail transport more environmentally friendly, as well as bring jobs and inward investment to Scotland’s manufacturing and engineering sectors.
The economic development agency, with support from Transport Scotland, has appointed trade body Scottish Engineering to build an “international rail cluster” which will link small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with train manufacturers, contractors, academics and research centres.
The 18-month project to build the rail cluster, which is in the very early stages, will be delivered by Scottish Engineering, and will be led by Shona Clive, who joins the organisation from Babcock International Group, while continuing to lead Women in Rail Scotland.
Clive said: “The Scottish Engineering team is well positioned to identify companies who are the right fit and can bring their own attributes to the table.
“In the current circumstances, this will begin life as a digital project with a number of events bringing the parties together online in the initial months.
“But the ambition is there within Scottish Enterprise for this to develop into a physical cluster of businesses and research centres in Scotland, collaborating to deliver a world-class manufacturing capability in low carbon rail transport.
“It’s a real honour to be involved at this early stage in what promises to be a huge development for rail and engineering in Scotland, as well as creating more environmentally friendly railways for world markets.”
Scottish Engineering chief executive Paul Sheerin said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Scotland’s Engineering SMEs to add or grow rail sector involvement at a time when diversification is especially welcome, and all the more so given the target that the rail sector has set in Scotland to drive to zero carbon.
“This ambition marks this as a stand-out example of the sustainable manufacturing we are keen to grow, and we are also delighted to welcome Shona to lead this project, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and connections in this sector.”
Scottish Enterprise head of high value manufacturing David Leven added: “This is an exciting development in Scotland’s fight against the climate emergency, and in building a new field for jobs and investment.
“The project will connect Scottish businesses with the country’s top manufacturing innovators, as well as connecting up supply chain partners.”
The total value of the contract is £72,000. Transport Scotland is contributing £20,000 and £36,000 will be reimbursed from the EU through the Sprite programme.
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