Babcock berths marine training business at innovation centre

Hannah Bourne, Assistant Centre Manager at Fareham Innovation Centre in south Hampshire, welcomes Mark Graves, Managing Director, Marine Training, Marine & Technology, for Babcock.

Up to 100 personnel from highly skilled engineering services company Babcock are to work under one roof at a thriving innovation centre in Hampshire.

Babcock’s Marine Training has signed up to eight offices, covering 464 sq m, at Fareham Innovation Centre’s new £7 million extension, and will make the new facility its operational base with staff relocating in phases from sites across the UK.

Oxford Innovation, which runs the award-winning centre on behalf of owner Fareham Borough Council, is the UK’s leading operator of Innovation Centres, with 23 currently under management.

Stephen Brownlie, Oxford Innovation’s Regional Manager for the South, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to have Babcock sign up to eight offices at Fareham Innovation Centre, generating inward investment and providing commercial opportunities to grow local supply chains.

“Fareham Innovation Centre is a premier location for marine, aviation, aerospace engineering and advanced manufacturing, evidenced by highly-respected and innovative companies, such as Babcock, choosing to base operations here.”

He added: “Occupancy is already at 60% in the whole building, with 10 companies now in at the extension, and we anticipate that figure rising steadily in the months to come.

“We have close to 40 companies here now – it is a powerhouse of knowledge, intellectual property, innovation, problem solving, growth ambition and entrepreneurialism.”

Mark Graves, Managing Director of Babcock Marine Training, said: “Fareham Innovation Centre provides an ideal operating environment for our 100 staff who will be developing and designing imaginative and stimulating training content and media for our national and international maritime customers.

“I am really looking forward to being able to engage proactively with a range of innovative and growing local companies operating within manufacturing and technology industries.”

There are 33 offices, five high-bay workshops, meeting rooms and The Bridge, a state-of-the art conference suite which can accommodate up to 100 delegates.

The extension aims to increase the service offering at the centre, creating a greater supportive ecosystem for growing businesses in marine, aviation, aerospace engineering and advanced manufacturing.

Fareham Innovation Centre’s original £5.3m building, within the Solent Enterprise Zone, opened more than three years ago with 24 offices and 15 light-manufacturing workshops.

Businesses from the marine, engineering and aerospace sectors rapidly filled the building, with near 100% occupancy achieved within 12 months, creating demand for the extension, which has more than doubled the original footprint.

All five workshops at the extension, which are suitable for light manufacturing and engineering, have already been snapped up.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership contributed a £2 million grant to the second phase as part of the organisation’s programme for supporting innovation across the Solent region, which is home to 50,000 businesses.