top of page
Advanced manufacturing in County Durham - Business Durham

Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing in County Durham - Business Durham

When deciding where to locate or grow your
advanced manufacturing operations, County
Durham has a lot to offer.

The county plays a significant part in supporting and providing the right
conditions for advanced manufacturing businesses to thrive.
As the largest economy in the North East, County Durham is a prominent contributor to the area’s standing as the leading UK region for advanced manufacturing foreign direct investment in per capita. Almost 69,000 people are employed (6% of its total workforce) generating £8.0bn GVA turnover with growing exports (increased by 12% from £9.2bn to £10.3bn between 2014 and 2019).


In and around County Durham, there are more than 52,000 STEM students – 50% of its student population with nearly 10,000 studying engineering and technology subjects, 8.7% of its student population – the highest proportion of any UK region.


More than 140 undergraduate and postgraduate engineering-related courses are available across the region’s five universities, while an additional 11 colleges offer over 300 advanced manufacturing-related courses.

If you are thinking about moving your business to County Durham, give us a call on 03000 261261.

Business incentives and support for the sector

Business Durham offers bespoke one-to-one assistance and key support programmes such as Finance Durham and the Durham Business Growth programme. We can also signpost businesses to support networks in the surrounding ecosystem. Additional sources of funding are available through various organisations and support programmes including NBSL, RTC North, BEEP, NE BIC and Business Boost.

Research and innovation

North East England has developed an unequalled reputation for production but now it’s becoming recognised as a location for innovation. Much of this innovation is derived from fruitful partnerships between advanced manufacturing companies, universities and research institutions, which has helped the industry maintain an edge over competitors.

Cost savings to your business

County Durham offers significant labour and property cost savings for advanced manufacturing operations compared to UK regions and global hubs. A variety of incentives, industry support bodies and networking events make the area an attractive option. An important specialism for the region is precision engineering in the aerospace, rail, automotive, and oil and gas sectors.

Competitive salary costs

The North East offers highly competitive salary costs for advanced manufacturing jobs. It costs just under £34,000 to employ an engineer in the North East; this is just under one-third cheaper compared to Greater London.

Low property costs

The North East has some of the lowest property costs in Europe. Office costs are 20% lower than in the North West and South West of England and more than 85% cheaper than in London

Least expensive location

The North East is one of the least expensive locations in which to
establish an aerospace manufacturing operation, with annual operating costs (labour and property) of £10.61m. The region offers more than £11m cost savings compared to Antwerp and over £15m compared to Greater London.

Meet the team

If you have any questions for our expert team, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help.

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson

Inward Investment Officer

Alex McKie

Alex McKie

Sector Development Manager

Key advanced manufacturing sites in County Durham

Forrest Park, Newton Aycliffe
Forrest Park, Newton Aycliffe

With planning permission in place, plans are proposed to bring forward an initial 830,000 square feet of speculative development.

NETPark (The North East Technology Park) Innovation District, Sedgefield
NETPark (The North East Technology Park) Innovation District, Sedgefield

One of the UK’s premier science, engineering, and technology parks. It provides the right mix of infrastructure, collaborative opportunities and support for science, engineering, and technology companies.

Merchant Park, Newton Aycliffe
Merchant Park, Newton Aycliffe

A £90 million project, Merchant Park is a 65-acre development at Aycliffe Business Park on J59 of the A1(M). Home to one of the largest inward investment manufacturing developments in recent years, the 30-acre Hitachi Rail Europe train manufacturing facility which opened in September 2015. The location was selected by Hitachi from an initial shortlist of 42 sites following a UK wide search.