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6 February 2014, 13:37 | Updated: 6 February 2014, 13:51
Business Secretary Vince Cable has been visiting Portsmouth and Gosport today.
Seeing first hand how local firms are using government support to create jobs and capitalise on international export opportunities, the Business Secretary opened Magma Global's new In-Country Manufacturing facility, part of a £12.75 million quayside scheme at Trafalgar Wharf.
In 2013 Magma - a producer and exporter of high-value carbon fibre pipes for the subsea oil and gas industry - benefited from over £2 million awarded through the Government's Regional Growth Fund to help construct the facility and scale up manufacture of spooled piping, helping create up to 163 full-time jobs.
The company, which has grown from employing four to 140 staff in three years, has also benefited from over £500,000 of government funding through the Technology Strategy Board to help them research and develop their innovative subsea technologies.
Dr Cable also spoke at a ceremony to mark the construction of Fareham College's new Centre for Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) on the Solent Enterprise Zone, and met construction apprentices helping build the facility.
Over £12 million from the Regional Growth Fund, Skills Funding Agency and Local Enterprise Partnership will enable the CEMAST project to help train more than 600 apprentices, create a Research & Development Centre to support local companies in the development of new engineering and manufacturing processes and technologies, and create or safeguard over 400 jobs in the Solent area. The centre will open in September 2014.
Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said:
"Portsmouth and the Solent have faced tough times, but have huge potential to create new jobs by building on their strengths in areas like marine, high-tech industries, tourism and the creative economy.
"Intelligently targeted government investment is helping local entrepreneurial firms like Magma Global and training providers to keep ahead of the game. We will continue working in partnership with local leaders and businesses to support the local economy, connecting firms with the right individuals, networks and funding they need to reach new markets or tackle the skills gaps that hold them back."
Dr Cable also discussed local economic opportunities with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership - the body charged with bringing local civic, academic and business leaders together to exploit local growth opportunities. A key feature of the discussion was the Solent Strategic Economic Plan - a £2.4 billion plan to drive economic growth in the Solent.
Whilst in the City the Business Secretary also met with representatives of BAE Systems at the Naval Base discuss the company's attempts to mitigate the impact of the job losses announced in November 2013.
The Government is determined to help local leaders unlock the opportunities for growth and jobs that currently exist in Portsmouth. Business Minister Michael Fallon has been given specific responsibility for co-ordinating the Government's ongoing efforts to support the future of the maritime industry in the area and the livelihoods of the people who work there. He visited the city last week and met with city leaders including council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Portsmouth University Vice-chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith. A number of other senior ministers have visited the city recently to support these efforts.