A visit to TWI’s Technology and Training Centre by the Rt Hon the Lord Heseltine has marked the official opening of the organisation’s flagship building at Teesside Advanced Manufacturing Park, Middlesbrough.

Government adviser for regeneration and growth Lord Heseltine joined over 60 guests representing industry and the local authorities to open the new Centre, which will play a major role in the Tees Valley Strategic Economic Plan.

Developed in partnership with Middlesbrough Borough Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the £10m purpose-built facility has been enabled through European Regional Development and Regional Growth funding along with investment from TWI.

The new Technology and Training Centre represents a sizeable boost to engineering consultancy and industry training in the North East for organisations looking to improve engineering practice and safety.

The Centre’s research and development work covers a wide range of technologies for industry sectors including oil and gas, chemical, power and transport. Services include materials characterisation and modelling for safety critical applications on structures and welds, surface and coatings technologies, fitness-for-service assessments and additive manufacturing simulation support. Further expertise covers thick-section arc welding and the innovative use of electron beam technology for construction and repair of large fabrications or components.

Industry will benefit too from the Centre’s expanded training and examinations facilities with specially designed training suites and state-of-the-art equipment for underwater inspection, plastics joining, weld inspection and non-destructive testing applications. Training delivered on site enables engineers to use the latest technologies to ensure the safety of structures such as offshore platforms, wind towers, chemical plant and oil pipelines.

The Centre also leads the way in housing a local base for TWI Certification Ltd, which provides compliance verification of manufacturing companies and welder training organisations against European and international standards for welding, joining and materials integrity.

Lord Heseltine toured the new laboratories, talking to technologists and training instructors about their work. A demonstration highlight was an instruction session underway in the new 10m x 10m diving tank, designed to train the next generation of inspection professionals in underwater techniques for the safe operation of facilities.

Speaking about new opportunities for industry in the North East, Lord Heseltine said,

’This new state-of-the-art Technology and Training Centre is a real boost to the locally-led efforts already underway to secure strong inward investment to the Tees Valley.

’Backed by £3million local growth funding, it will help train the next generation of engineers from Middlesbrough and the surrounding area and make it a hub for cutting-edge technologies for years to come.’

Dave Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough and Chair of Tees Valley Combined Authority said: 

’This state-of-the-art training facility is a fantastic example of partnership working and will further enhance the region’s reputation as innovative and forward-thinking.     

’The training centre will not only support local industry but also position Tees Valley as a centre of excellence in the engineering sector.’

TWI Operations Director Mike Russell said,

It is a great honour for TWI to welcome Lord Heseltine to open our new Centre. The facility represents a major step forward for our work with industry in specialist training, certification and novel technology development, and provides us with a great base for further growth and greater engagement with the region and beyond.

Call or e-mail twinorth@twi-global.com to arrange a visit or find out more about how business can benefit from the centre’s enhanced capabilities.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact catherine.condie@twi.co.uk or by phone on +44 (0)1223 899000.