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New Forres innovation centre secures £5.6 million investment approval

By Ewan Malcolm

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PLANS to establish a new innovation centre in Moray which could support around 300 jobs over the next ten years have received a significant boost thanks to up to £5.6 million in investment.

Plans to establish a new facility in Moray that is expected to support up to 300 manufacturing jobs in the next ten years have secured up to £5.6m investment.
Plans to establish a new facility in Moray that is expected to support up to 300 manufacturing jobs in the next ten years have secured up to £5.6m investment.

Moray councillors gave the green light to the final business case for the ‘Manufacturing Innovation Centre Moray’ (MICM), to be based at Forres Enterprise Park, earlier this year.

But Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has now approved funding for the new centre adding that it will support the creation of higher paid jobs.

There are more manufacturing jobs per head of population in Moray than anywhere else in Scotland and it is hoped that the centre will help develop the skills of the existing workforce.

The building, which is currently owned by HIE, will be refurbished in an environmentally friendly way in the hope of demonstrating how existing buildings can achieve a low carbon footprint.

HIE says that once the refurbishment is complete, the centre will provide diagnostics, advice, information, signposting and brokerage services to businesses across the Moray region.

It will have a primary focus on supporting innovation and growth in product and process development while there will be space in the building for “business start-up incubation” as well as space for innovation projects.

The centre will also house demonstration facilities showcasing advanced technology and equipment.

David Reid, HIE area manager for Moray, said: “In a wider sense, the new centre will be designed to support the creation of higher paid jobs, improve skills among the workforce, attract and retain more young people, and encourage occupational integration and gender balance.

“Planning for the project has been a long and detailed process involving many partners and stakeholders and we are grateful to all those who have helped to get things to this stage.

“We look forward to continuing this close collaboration as we advance the project in the coming months.”

The project is part of the Moray Growth Deal that includes more than £4 million of UK and Scottish Government funding.

John Lamont, UK Government Minister for Scotland, said: “It's fantastic news that Moray's Manufacturing Innovation Centre is now a step closer to opening its doors and supporting hundreds of jobs.

“The UK Government is delighted to be providing almost £2.5 million to the project.”

Kate Forbes, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Gaelic, added: “This centre will support hundreds of high-quality, well-paid jobs across Moray by boosting the region’s capabilities in advanced manufacturing with a focus on net zero.

“Our £1.86 million contribution to this project through the Moray Growth Deal, and £2.56 million from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, will unlock economic potential across the region and create opportunities for the people of Moray as part of a growing, fair and green economy.”

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