It was the year of the UK's worst snowfall, David Bowie was born, the then Princess Elizabeth got married and former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin died.
1947 also saw the forming of Norton Radstock College which has now completed a rebrand and opened its new state-of-the-art engineering building.
Shirley Arayan, College Principal, said: "We've been providing local people with the skills to find work and develop their careers since 1947 and have trained many of the local business owners, managers and skilled workers running the local businesses of today.
"Just as the Radstock area is being regenerated, we wanted to create a brand which is going to take us forward into the next decade and beyond. We are the College that works."
Peter Hodgson, Vice Principal Corporate, said: "The fantastic £2m building, covering 26,000 sq ft, houses state-of-the-art engineering workshops equipped with the latest CAD, CAM, rapid prototyping and CNC technology to meet the current and future skills needs of the local employment market.
"The building also accommodates a Green Room which is be focussed on creating a bespoke environment for training and assessment within the low carbon arena - an area of future growth and requirement for skills in the region."
The development comes at a time when businesses need to retain the skills of an aging workforce to ensure longevity and focus on quality and productivity to continue to grow their bottom line.
Come and see the new look college for yourself!
We are running an event at Norton Radstock College on the 26th March 2014
'Are you making the most of the Retrofit market?' is a free event aimed at businesses in Bath and North East Somerset that are working in the green build, energy efficiency and retrofit sector.
The Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area is an industrial location of internationally significant scale, extending for 5 miles along the Severn Estuary and covering some 1,800ha. Low Carbon South West has been running events in the area for several years, with the aim of building a business network and encouraging a joined up approach to the growth and development of the region.
The delegation heard from Ian Steele, who is Avonmouth/Severnside Project Manager for both Bristol and South Gloucestershire Councils. Ian spoke on current plans for infrastructure to improve the business opportunity and the resilience of the area, including flood defences, a highly topical subject in the wake of widespread recent flooding across the South West. The flood defences consultation has recently closed, but the plans can be seen further in Ian's slides (link below) and more information can be seen here, including both a technical report and a non-technical summary.
Ian also discussed proposals to build a junction from the M49 motorway directly into the Enterprise Area. To date, this project has missed out on key infrastructure funding streams to date due to tight timescales. It is hoped that with the increased focus on the business potential for the area that the proposals will be considered in more detail by the Highways Agency in the near future. Maps and diagrams are available in Ian's slides (below)
Paul Albone presented the results of the feasibility study for a Thermal Energy Grid, a project that has looked at the possibility of installing a district heating system in the region to provide low cost process and space heating for up to 205 locations in the area, and outlined the challenges inherent in a scheme at such large scale.
Alan Bailey, Low Carbon South West outlined the significant potential for the area, including plans for developing a Circular Economy hub in Avonmouth/Severnside which would encompass everything from waste handling, waste reprocessing and energy from waste. This would lead to the creation of long term and sustainable ‘green collar' jobs at all levels of expertise and be a great boost for Bristol's green economy. Alan is working closely with the inward investment service on this project and is keen to hear from companies or organisations that are looking to invest in the area or develop waste projects that are already established.
Amy Robinson outlined the work that LCSW is doing on the West of England Carbon Challenge, a network of business and organsiations in the West of England region that are working to reduce their carbon emissions. The network is free to join, and helps businesses identify ways to reduce energy use and improve resource efficiency in their operations. Being part of the network also provides companies with the opportunity to promote their success when they have taken steps to reduce their environmental impact, which often leads to signicant financial savings. This work is of key significance as Bristol prepares to be handed the title of European Green Capital in 2015. Interested parties can find out more on the WECC website.
Many thanks to all our attendees and speakers, Invest Bristol and Bath and also to ASDA for hosting the meeting at their conference facility in their new distribution centre at the heart of Avonmouth.
A Grade I listed building, Brunel's engine shed was completed in 1841and was the first station in the world to house an engine shed, passenger hall, ticket office and goods area. It has since been home to an Exploratory, museum and events venue, and today it is a hub for high tech, creative and low carbon enterprises in the heart of Bristol's Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The event proved to be an inspiring insight into some of the ingenious and innovative solutions that are coming out of the Bristol and Bath region.
Delegates heard from David Marron, Head of Engineering at Ultra Global PRT, a Bristol based company that have pioneered Personal Rapid Transport systems, or PRTs for short. PRTs consist of futuristic looking ‘pods' which are designed to cater for the 'last 3km of a journey', for instance from a train station to the centre of town, providing on demand links to other methods of public transport to replace car journeys. Powered by electric batteries, they offer an automated transport network, meaning that they are a more environmentally friendly option than personal car use, but still offer the same comfort and convenience.
Founded out of the University of Bristol in 1995, Ultra Global PRT has come a long way, through test track launches and safety audits in the early 2000's to its first showcase at Heathrow Business Car park in 2010. Built to prove the viability and benefits of the technology, PRT as a mode of transport from the car park to the terminal has surpassed expectations, reducing what was a 10-15 minute shuttle bus ride to a 5 minute journey. The system is regularly maintained and assessed for satisfaction levels in passengers and maintains an impressive average waiting time of just over 10 seconds, though in most cases (over 80% of the time) passengers will have a pod waiting for them!
Aside from these impressive statistics, PRT has saved over 200 tonnes of carbon a year at Heathrow by replacing traditional transport methods, and it has carried over 900,000 passengers, saving 50,000 bus journeys every year. In addition to this, it has also won multiple awards and with a score of 4.7 out of 5 for passenger satisfaction is the highest rated service at the airport.
PRT is now being studied for feasibility in more urban landscapes in Brazil and Taiwan, where congestion and accessibility are becoming increasingly problematic. When PRT proves its capabilities in these urban spaces elsewhere it hopes to see it being brought back to its roots in Bristol's own Enterprise Zone to ease traffic congestion and parking issues.
The delegation also heard from Amy Robinson, Low Carbon South West and Nick Sturge, Managing Director of Engine Shed as well as the SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre which occupies the top floor of the building.
This glimpse into the high tech solutions appearing out of Bristol's centre was a fascinating education and left delegates curious to know more. The next Business Breakfast will be held at the University of Bath Innovation Centre on the 18th of March, with professor Geoff Hammond of the University of Bath and
Alan Seviour of Ace Energy. To find out more and book your place, click here! If you can't make it in March, the next Bristol event will be back at the Engine Shed on the 22nd of April, more information on topic and speakers to be announced soon.
Businesses across the South West are set to cash in on a new £4 million funding programme, run by the University of the West of England, Bristol.
The Innovation 4 Growth programme will help regional companies - both small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger organisations - to develop products, technologies, processes and services.
Led by the University using Regional Growth Funding, it will provide up to 35% of research and development project costs, with a grants of between £25,000 to £150,000.
Please note, applications for the first round of funding must be received by 5pm on Monday, 10th March 2014.
Tracey John, Head of UWE Bristol's Research and Business Development Team, is enthusiastic about the programme's regional scope.
"It is fantastic that this scheme will enable us to support businesses across Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, as well as the Bristol city-region," she said.
"We take on large numbers of students from, and have a strong commitment to building networks and promoting growth across, all these counties, so are really pleased to have been entrusted with funds that will safeguard and create employment across the whole of the south west."
ModCell Straw Technology has won a prestigious award for their product.
ModCell won the 'Innovation Achievers Award' for ModCell's Prefabricated Straw Bale Wall and Roofing System.
The International Innovation and Research Awards run by the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) celebrate excellence in academic research and industry innovation. 24 countries took part in the 2013 awards submitting over 200 entries. All judged by an 18-strong panel of leading figures from academia and industry.
The judges said, ‘ModCell is a highly innovative idea. It comprises a system level of innovation in both prefabricated building product and process. It has also shown a strong application and a clear commercial viability. The panel was extremely impressed by the progress that has been achieved'.