With just a week to go to the region’s largest employer inspired science, technology, engineering, manufacturing and construction careers event, Get up to Speed with STEM, the organisers are expecting a record turnout. With 90 exhibitors from Sheffield City Region and beyond set to inspire youngsters (aged 8 to 25) from 68 schools (over 2,500 young people) many local but some travelling from as far afield as Newcastle and Leicester.   

As well as extending the reach geographically the event this year has encompassed some new sectors and activities. For the first time it will include a Construction Zone sponsored by Go Construct and the CITB showcasing the varied careers and skills required in the sector with demonstrations on everything from traditional stone masonry to building design and acoustics. With exhibitors including the likes of Henry Boot, Horbury Group, Mears Group, Horbury Group and Woodhead Group

For the first time the event will also host the finals of the Gulliver’s Wonderful World challenge where 5 primary schools from Rotherham will compete to see who has the best ideas for their new theme park. Gulliver’s Valley Theme Park and Resort is an exciting and inspiring addition to the Rotherham landscape playing a significant part in the regeneration plans for the borough and wider city region. It will impact positively on the local and regional economy. Boosting investment, creating employment, growing tourism and raising profile. With this investment comes a desire by Gulliver’s to play a wider part in the local community to maximise impact, become a good neighbour and support the wider transformation of the borough and its residents.

Another first is the introduction of presentations by young employees telling the story of their journey from education into employment and their successes to date, hopefully inspiring others that they too can succeed. “My Job, My Journey” speakers include those who have come the apprentice route and others the university route, including Dr Rahul Mandal who works as a research associate at the University of Sheffield Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and is the winner of the Great British Bake Off 2018. As an avid volunteer STEM ambassador, Rahul regularly works with young people to encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths-based (STEM) subjects. “If you can do baking, you can do science and engineering and if you’re doing engineering, then you can bake,” he says.

If that wasn’t enough then there are a range of local and national employers involved including headline Sponsors Liberty Speciality Steels, AESSEAL plc and Cooper Brown Enterprises plus many others including Rolls-Royce, McLaren, Orchid Orthopaedic Solutions and Doncasters Bramah. Plus many hands on attractions from F1 Racing Car Simulators to Virtual Reality technologies and a Space Dome. The event takes place at Magna Science adventure Centre on Wednesday 27th March and is open to schools, families and young people (from 8 to 25). The morning is now fully booked but places are still available in the afternoon so to attend simply register HERE to reserve your places.

Do you pay technically skilled staff to solve scientific or technological problems?

If so, this is a good indicator that your company could be claiming support from HMRC towards these, and other associated costs, in the form of R&D tax reliefs. The relief is worth up to 25% of the qualifying cost, with cash payments available from HMRC in some cases – can you afford to miss out?

The Government recognises that innovation drives economic growth and one of the ways in which they encourage innovation is through the R&D tax credits regime. The reliefs, which were first introduced almost 20 years ago, are still widely under-claimed, even though they can be worth almost £25k in tax saved for every £100k of qualifying spend.

One of the main reasons that the relief isn’t claimed by all those who are entitled is because the level of innovation required to claim is overestimated. One simple question we often ask companies we work with when identifying potential claims is ‘Do you pay technically skilled staff to solve technical problems?’. If the answer is yes, it’s often the case that activity qualifying for R&D relief is being carried on.

The role of the skilled employee is key when considering R&D reliefs. Recognising that an essential requirement for successful R&D is the skilled individual, HMRC refers to ‘competent professional’ throughout the guidance supporting the regime. A competent professional has a track record, accumulated knowledge, skills and qualification in the specific field. The competent professional helps define the R&D project, assessing the technically challenging areas of the project.  If a solution to a problem is not ‘readily deducible’ by the competent professional, then it’s likely R&D has taken place. R&D relief is available for companies across all sectors and fields of science and technology and depending on the area in which your company operates, your competent professional could be a software developer or an engineer, for example.

One other point worth bearing in mind when considering your skilled employees is ensuring you retain these skills in your business. If these skilled individuals were to leave, there could be negative impacts on the business, including taking knowledge to competitors, the cost and difficulties in replacing them and the uncertainty this creates. There are many ways in which key employees can be incentivised in a tax efficient manner, helping to lock in talent and this is something on which the Radius team liaises with the wider tax planning team at Shorts. We would be happy to discuss these issues with you.

Our Radius specialists focus on quickly and concisely assessing a company’s eligibility to claim Research and Development tax reliefs. They will then ensure your claim is completed as painlessly as possible, is compliant (we have a 100% success rate) and is maximised.

Why not speak to the Shorts’ Radius team to find out how easy it is to make your company’s innovation pay. Our team:

  • Includes an ex-HMRC Inspector who specialised in reviewing and processing R&D tax relief claims – have you claim reviewed prior to submission
  • Is the official R&D tax relief partner to the Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham and East Midlands Chambers of Commerce
  • Ensures claims are prepared by true R&D tax relief specialists, not general tax advisers or accountants
  • Has robust quality control procedures to ensure that claims are fully compliant
  • Has never had a claim rejected by HMRC.

Contact Scott Burkinshaw or any member of the Radius team on 0114 2671617.

Automation | Robotics | Funding | Growth

The Regional Manufacturing Forum Event

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 16.00-18.00

Venue: Cutlers’ Hall, Church Street, Sheffield S1 1HG

16:00 Registration & Networking | 16:30 Presentations, Q&A | 17:30 Networking & Refreshments

For Manufacturers! Your opportunity to network with other Manufacturers


Chris Greaves, Head of Operations, Integrated Machining Group & Factory 2050, AMRC

Gordon Macrae, Special Projects Manager, Gripple

Andy Ryder, Corporate Finance Partner, Shorts Chartered Accountants

David Grimes, Head of Sheffield City Region Growth Hub

To book please email

Manufacturer makes Acquisition

A Sheffield-based manufacturer has acquired a counterpart with financial support from the Barclays Northern Powerhouse Fund.

OSL Cutting Technologies, formed in 2015 and part of the wider OSL Group, has acquired Universal Drilling, which is also based in Sheffield.

Mathew Grey, group managing director, said: “The acquisition of Universal Drilling further strengthens OSL Cutting Technologies position as a world class manufacturer of cutting tools. Universal has a fantastic reputation both nationally and internationally and will allow us to grow our presence in a variety of markets.

“The new funding, offered by Barclays, has not only supported us to complete on the acquisition but also provided us with the confidence to increase our overseas business, which is crucial for our ongoing expansion plans. It represents our continued belief and investment in Sheffield and as an employer we are wedded to the heritage of its manufacturing excellence.”

OSL Cutting Technologies manufactures and distributes magnetic drills, annular cutters and hole cutting tools to a global market. Its brands includes Rotabroach, GJ Halls, Powerbor and Taylor & Jones.

Matthew Chenery, Barclays relationship director put together the funding package for the deal. He added: “OSL is a great example of a thriving business that is expanding for the future and contributing to the local economy. The new funding from our Northern Powerhouse fund will enable the company to reach new markets, increase overseas trade and we’re delighted to be able to support OSL with their growth ambitions.”

The OSL Group employs more than 200 people with turnover expected to exceed £30m for 2019.

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 8th February 2019

GRIPPLE Team is Heads above the rest of the in National Award 

On behalf of their company, a team from Gripple Limited, the global, market-leading, employee-owned manufacturer of the iconic wire fastener, walked away with one of the major accolades in one of the UK’s most respected and largest annual awards programme.

In the Manufacturer MX Awards it was in the People and Skills category which most impressed the hand-picked, experienced judges, following a final presentation at Gripple’s Sheffield headquarters.

Gripple’s People & Culture team – an alternative to the traditional HR department – has grown from two to five in a year, to drive the company’s values-driven culture through learning and development.

Supported by leading industry sponsors, its headline sponsor Santander, the sought-after award scheme is in partnership with The Manufacturer and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

Matt Rooney, engineering policy adviser at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: Manufacturing is one of the major drivers of our economy and, in order to remain so, the sector will need to adapt to a fast-changing technological landscape. Congratulations to all the winners.”

Katrina Ritchie, head of the People & Culture team: “This award means so much to the P&C team and I am proud of the them. However, it really recognises the passion and commitment of everyone at Gripple who understand that training and developing people to be the best they can is vital and will work hard to make Gripple a great place to work.

“The Gripple ‘spirit’ in essence means working together with respect and integrity and going the extra miles to make Gripple the best place to work and so successful.”

Photo caption: Members of Gripple’s People & Culture team who attended the awards’ presentation: l-r Ewa Smereka, Katrina Ritchie and Emma Hibbert.

AMRC visit strengthens Malaysian Links

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has built its links with Malaysia with a visit from the country’s minister of education.

Dr Maszlee Malik’s visit was designed to strengthen the relationship between Malaysia and the UK in the fields of engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The minister, accompanied by a delegation that included the vice chancellor of the University Technology Malaysia and a board member of Education Malaysia Global Services, was introduced to researchers at the centre by Professor Keith Ridgway, founder and executive dean of the AMRC.

The delegation visited Factory of the Future, Nuclear AMRC and Factory 2050 where translational research into advanced machining, manufacturing, materials and lightweighting processes is being carried out for the biggest names in aerospace, energy, automotive and defence.

They also visited the AMRC Training Centre, which is helping more than 300 small and medium sized manufacturing companies in the region to develop new engineering talent. 

Dr Malik said: “Education is key for us and I think a model like the University of Sheffield AMRC could sit very well in the Malaysian economy.

“We also want to look at the possibility of collaborating with the University of Sheffield on joint degree programmes where our students study both in Malaysia and here. We really want to build on our relationship with the university, that is something we want to progress.”

Professor Ridgway added: “A good relationship with Malaysia is something the Sheffield City region will pick up on and could, in future, be a conduit to inward investment just like we have seen with Boeing opening their first European manufacturing facility here and McLaren establishing its Composites Technology Centre in Sheffield.

“Most heartening of all, it was great to see the interest the Minister and his team showed in the training of apprentices and the vital role their skills and talent are playing in growing an economy where inward investors want technology and skills.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 31st January 2019


An automotive industry veteran has been named as the new chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), succeeding Sir Nigel Knowles in the role.

James Muir, former head of group national sales at Volkswagen and chair of trustees at the Astrea Academy Trust will chair his first meeting next week (14 January 2018).

The LEP chair is responsible for representing private-sector businesses and setting the strategic direction for the economic growth of the Sheffield City Region.

Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Sheffield City Region, headed the interview panel. He said: “This role is a crucial one and in James we have an outstanding candidate for the job. I look forward to working closely with James and fellow LEP board members to drive economic growth, create new jobs and promote our region around the world.

“With James’s business expertise, passion for our region and his dedication to social mobility, I’m confident he will provide strong leadership to the LEP, be the voice of our businesses and represent the Sheffield City Region on a Northern, national and international level.”

James Muir joined Volkswagen Group as president and chief executive of SEAT in 2009 before taking up responsibility VW Group’s owned national sales companies across more than 20 countries worldwide in mid-2013, retiring from the group in December 2018. He has also previously held roles at Mazda and the Ford Motor Company.

Muir added: “Using my business acumen and experience of spearheading businesses across more than 25 markets around the world, I believe I can support our local companies to develop and expand their potential across the globe.

“As a resident of Sheffield, with strong connections to the wider region, I want to do my utmost to create a vibrant economic powerhouse at the forefront of technological change.”

Previous LEP board chair Sir Nigel Knowles, the chairman of law firm DWF and former global co-chairman of DLA Piper, stepped down when his term of office came to an end in December 2018.

Sir Nigel will now take on a role as special advisor to the mayor on trade and investment, and continue to represent Sheffield City Region at events such as the annual MIPIM property conference in Cannes.

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 11th January 2019

R&D Tax Relief – still time to get ‘Christmas present’ from HMRC

With just a short time to Christmas there is still time to prepare and submit a claim for R&D tax relief.  SHORTS, the Manufacturing Forum Sponsor recently submitted a claim for a £26k cash payment for a client – imagine what a lovely Christmas present that would be for your business!

HMRC’s recent report shows that more and more small and medium sized companies are making R&D claims, generating significant tax savings of up to almost 25% of qualifying expenditure and, in some cases, cash payments from HMRC. Nevertheless, the government believes the relief is still massively underclaimed, and the stats show smaller companies are less likely to claim than larger ones.

One of the barriers which prevents companies claiming the relief to which they are entitled is a misconception regarding the amount of time and effort a company needs to invest to prepare and submit a claim. Often smaller companies have less accounts resource to devote to tax issues but ask yourself how long it would take, and how much effort would be required, to generate profits equal to the tax savings available.

Simple three stage process

Shorts’ Radius team have a simple three-step process where we work with companies to prepare their claims as quickly and efficiently as possible, taking up the least amount of company time. After an initial discussion, either in person or over the phone, to establish whether a company has a claim, we then hold a meeting with the technical experts at the company to gather the information required, which we take away and use to produce the claim documents. HMRC aims to process SME claims within four to six weeks so, if you act fast, there is time to get a claim submitted and have the cash in your bank account in time for the new year.

Two-year deadline for claiming

Christmas is even more important for companies with a December year-end as 31 December 2018 marks the two-year deadline for submitting claims for the 2016 year-end. With Friday 21 December likely to be the last working day of 2018 for many companies, we would urge anyone who has a December year-end and who hasn’t yet made a claim for 2016 to contact us for a quick chat to make sure you aren’t missing out on this very valuable relief. R&D claims are made across all sectors – some recent examples of claims we have submitted for clients include;

  • a company working in animal health (£26k repayment)
  • an on-line retailer (£23k tax saved) 
  • a metal manufacturer (£12k saved) 

Our Radius team comprises a vastly experienced team of R&D specialists, including an ex-HMRC R&D Inspector, and we have never had a claim turned down by HMRC.  So, if your company is incurring costs in resolving technical challenges, no matter what field you are in, please get in touch with SHORTS and let THEM show you how easily your business could make its innovation pay.

Source: SHORTS

Rolls-Royce to continue BREXIT Contingency Plans

Rolls-Royce has confirmed it is to continue its Brexit contingency plans following the Prime Minister’s decision to delay the vote on her deal in Parliament. The manufacturing giant also revealed its profits and cash flow for 2018 is expected to be in the upper half of its guidance range.

The listed company, which is headquartered in Derby, added that it expects to complete about 500 large engines in total this year, lower than its projection in March of about 550 units.

Rolls-Royce said the reduction reflects supply chain “challenges that are affecting the whole civil engine sector and also early stage production ramp-up challenges” on its new Trent 7000 engine.

However, the business added that it is “confident” that Trent 7000 production and delivery volumes will “increase significantly” in 2019.

In its power systems division, the company has reported “strong growth” in the second half of 2018 while trading progress in defence remained in line with its full-year guidance, with revenues expected to remain stable.

A statement to the London Stock Exchange said: “Rolls-Royce notes the decision by the UK government to delay the vote on the proposed withdrawal agreement and political declaration.

“We will continue to implement our contingency plans until we are certain that a deal and transition period has been agreed.

“Specifically, we are working with EASA to transfer design approval for large aero engines to Germany, where we already carry out this process for business jets.

“This is a precautionary and reversible technical action which we do not anticipate will lead to the transfer of any jobs.

“We have begun to build inventory as a contingency measure, in line with the timetable that we gave in the summer.

“We have been liaising with all our suppliers and have reviewed our logistics options and have the required capacity available.

“At this point we have contingency plans in place and will update the market when we have clearer visibility.”

Source: Jon Robinson, Insider Media, 12 December 2018

Building work progresses at Hallam’s Health Innovation Park

The structural steelworks of Sheffield Hallam University’s two new research centres are now in place.

Building work led by BAM Construction Ltd is progressing quickly on the University’s National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) and Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), which will be based at Sheffield Hallam’s Health Innovation Park.

Situated at the heart of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, the Health Innovation Park will bring together research and innovation alongside education, health, leisure and business. Providing opportunities for organisations that are active in health innovation to co-locate on the Health Innovation Park, the site will become a model of urban development that will drive economic growth, health improvements and community wellbeing.

Sheffield Hallam’s NCEFE, which is set to open next year, will focus on the application of engineering to improve food processing and address an industry-recognised shortage of food engineering expertise.

Designed to tackle food industry challenges such as productivity, health, minimising waste and reducing energy use, the NCEFE will support the food and drink industry through collaborative research and development projects and by developing new and enhanced facilities, processes and equipment and creating a knowledgeable workforce with experience of leading engineering systems and processes.

It will also include pilot-scale production facilities, laboratories, workshops and teaching spaces and will play a strategic role in developing advanced engineering capability for the food and drink industry, providing a major competitive advantage to the sector.

The Centre, and the associated Food Engineering degree programme, has been developed in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, along with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Office for Students (formerly HEFCE).

Professor Roger Eccleston, Pro Vice-Chancellor for research at Sheffield Hallam, said: “The Health Innovation Park will be a pioneering place that will translate excellent research into practical innovations to tackle the world’s health challenges and significantly improve global health and wellbeing, UK productivity and export potential.

“The NCEFE will support the food and drink industry in helping to keep the UK at the forefront of capability and efficiency in a very competitive sector.

“This project builds on our existing strong track record of attracting investment and providing excellent research and knowledge transfer, working in partnership with industry to develop education programmes that are designed to support organisations in narrowing the skills gap within the region and beyond.”

Set to become the most advanced research centre in the world for developing innovations that will improve population health and physical activity levels, the AWRC will form the centrepiece of the Health Innovation Park and will look to increase people’s mobility through lifestyle change and technological innovation to reduce the risk and consequences of chronic diseases. 

The key facility, which is situated opposite the NCEFE and is set to open later next year, has been supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, who have committed £14million of funding to the project.

The new Centre will feature indoor and outdoor facilities for 70 researchers to carry out world-leading research on health and physical activity in collaboration with the general public and private sector, with a focus on taking services and products from concept to market.

In 2015, Canon Medical Systems (formerly Toshiba Medical) and Westfield Health were announced as the first major, private sector partners of the AWRC and will provide cutting edge equipment and technology to assist with research. parkrun became the AWRC’s third major partner in 2016 and will work together with their two million registered runners to improve their health and wellbeing. 

Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity and the Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wosskow Brown Foundation and the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust have also become partners.

Its close links with the National Centre of Sport and Exercise Medicine will enable researchers to work with the population of Sheffield and use local communities to explore and test the potential of new innovations and products.

Professor Alison Metcalfe, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing said: “Mobility is fundamental to a person’s physical and mental health. Finding new and diverse interventions to increase people’s mobility and engagement with physical activity and exercise across their lifespan can transform their health significantly.

“Bringing together public and private sector organisations is vitally important to developing products and services when it comes to growing our economy and UK productivity and our own practitioners, scientists, engineers and designers here at Sheffield Hallam regularly collaborate to address global health concerns.”

Richard Caborn, project lead for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, said “Seeing the steelwork on the AWRC rise six storeys above Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is another key milestone in the redevelopment of Attercliffe.

“We are bringing wealth creation and job opportunities to the region, providing tangible evidence of how Sheffield is delivering the Olympic legacy of economic regeneration.”

For press information: Sarah Ducein the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email