From Formula 1 to food processing, this sector employs 10,000 people (10.3% of the workforce vs 9.5% nationally), and is hungry for more. More than 100 automotive engineering and related advanced manufacturing companies form growing clusters along the A11 between Thetford and Norwich, whilst other towns, such as King’s Lynn and Fakenham are also substantial manufacturing centres.
Cutting edge automotive engineering companies include Group Lotus, Zenos Cars, Multimatic and F1 Beru), while electronics giants include Technologies (leaders in advanced ceramic chips worldwide), API Technologies (who build electronics for NASA, the European Space Agency and Eurofighter), Cooper Roller Bearings, MSI Defence Systems and Ardagh. There is also a wealth of plastics manufacturers, such as UCP, Merit and Coda.
As a maritime county, which is also home to Europe’s largest inland waterways, there is a very strong marine cluster, with companies such as Landamores (builders of Oyster yachts), Alicat Workboats, Seajacks, Jeckylls, Broom Boats, Haines Marine, Seaglaze and Trend marine. Many are leaders in their field, thriving in Norfolk, while competing in a global market.
Other specialisms include ‘clean-tech’, environmental engineering and marine/energy engineering in Great Yarmouth and Wells/Egmere and an emerging aviation related cluster centred around Norwich International Airport, KLM UK Engineering and Air Livery. The cluster seeks to support the growth in the overhaul, maintenance, refurbishment and repair of aircraft and is supported by the Norwich International Aviation Academy.
Many of Norfolk’s manufacturing employers – especially those in food and related processing – are experiencing significant growth and this is expected to be sustained. Examples include Bernard Matthews, Kettle Foods (Kettle Chips), Kinnerton, Pasta Foods and Hain Daniels (producing Linda McCartney products and the Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ dessert range).
The sector is supported by the Hethel Centre, the region's advanced engineering hub, which has ambitious plans to become a Technology Park - similar to the Norwich Research Park for biosciences - aiming to develop 2,200 skilled engineering jobs as well as additional business incubation space. Click here for further information.