Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

£1m engineering centre to 'enhance' IoM reputation

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Media captionThis year 36 apprentices have enrolled at the centre in Douglas

A £1m training centre in Douglas can "enhance the island's international reputation for precision engineering," said an MHK.

According to government figures, about 3,500 people on the island are employed in the engineering and aerospace industries.

The facility in Douglas will be used to help Manx apprentices improve their hi-tech manufacturing skills.

Economic development minister Laurence Skelly said it is an "exciting time".

The centre is a joint project between the Manx government and the IOMAC and fully replicates a modern workplace

Apprenticeships at the centre have already doubled to 36.

About 1,000 people are employed by Isle of Man-based aerospace firms in the manufacture of items such as ejector seats and optic lenses.

Image caption The high-tech manufacturing sector currently makes up 4% of the island's economy

In 2006, 22 aerospace firms on the island joined forces to create the Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster (IOMAC) - including RLC Ronaldsway, Swagelok and Triumph Actuation Systems.

Order books 'healthy'

The IOMAC has been instrumental in setting up the facility and in helping to design and deliver a three-year course.

The manufacturing industry is one of the key sectors within the Government's Vision2020 strategy for the island's continued economic growth.

Tim Crookall MHK said: "Our precision engineering companies have healthy order books and we are buoyant about the future.

"This centre will help us build on our enviable reputation for manufacturing excellence."

The high-tech manufacturing sector currently makes up 4% of the island's economy.

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