AN enterprise zone has secured its first major investor.
Precision engineering company Universal Tools has chosen Solent Enterprise Zone in Lee-on-the-Solent as its new expansion base.
Chairman of Universal Tools Graham Papworth said: ‘The new factory gives us the ability to grow and continue to provide a first-class service to our customers.
‘It will bring further employment to the Gosport area and will enable us to significantly expand our own indentured apprenticeship scheme.’
The company has been awarded financial assistance through the Solent LEP to help secure its new purpose-built premises in order to grow its business.
This will mean 57 jobs will be secure and the creation of around 40 new jobs over the next five years.
Chairman of Solent LEP Gary Jefferies said: ‘This is a real milestone for the Solent Enterprise Zone. UTP is a growing company with a highly skilled workforce and Solent LEP is delighted to have been able to support the company’s investment in new purpose-built premises with a grant from our Enterprise Zone advanced manufacture fund.’
It is estimated that around 3,500 jobs will be provided within the enterprise zone by 2026, turning the area into a destination of choice for advanced manufacturing and technology businesses, especially within the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors.
Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward said: ‘Access to a skilled workforce, a dedicated engineering training college on site, and an operational airfield make the Solent Enterprise Zone a great location for advanced engineering businesses and I am sure that Universal Tools will be one of many to locate here.’
Universal Tools’ new premises will be built this year and the company hopes to work with students at the Cemast education centre at Daedalus, which is part of Fareham College.