Building on Brighouse’s manufacturing heritage will be one of the key parts of The Brighouse Deal – the £19 million plan to improve the town for the future for residents, businesses and visitors.

The investment will be used to develop skills, fund apprenticeships and allow local businesses to see how Industry 4.0 technology can support business productivity and efficiency.

It will be a pilot to test out the best working models and practices businesses can use to help them grow, and encourage other businesses to consider setting up in the town that continues to have one in six workers employed in the manufacturing sector.

Brighouse has a strong history of being an innovator in industry dating back to the 18th century when the River Calder provided the power for the flour milling industry and textile mills. But, like many industrial towns in England, manufacturing prospects declined steeply after World War One.

The area has been successful at replacing the jobs of the first industrial revolution with the advanced manufacturing that will characterise the current fourth industrial revolution.

The team behind The Brighouse Deal want to capitalise on this and use it as a catalyst for driving future growth across the area which is why developing industry and skills is a key part of the investment secured from government.

The money will be used to:

  • Increase capacity for apprentices with an ambition to secure 70 additional roles across the town.

  • Develop a new Brighouse Industrial Hub which will showcase new advanced manufacturing methods and how data analysis of processes can be used to help increase productivity and efficiency.

  • Invest in innovation by encouraging more research and development in existing firms and attracting knowledge intensive businesses to the area.

David Whitehead, co-chair of The Brighouse Town Deal Board and managing director of Brighouse-based specialist textile finishers H & C Whitehead, said: “This part of the UK is known around the globe as being a centre of manufacturing innovation. The towers of Sugdens Flour Mill are an enduring testament to Brighouse’s leadership in industrial revolutions of the past and we now have the opportunity of continuing to be a leader today.

“To achieve that, we need to invest in both technology and equipment and people and skills. The Brighouse Deal will do that by funding the apprenticeships and help businesses understand new methods of using data intelligence to allow their businesses to grow and others to move to this area or set-up, creating jobs and opportunities.

“I am proud that my business is a family firm that epitomises what we are trying to achieve. H & C Whitehead was founded in Brighouse in 1925 and ever since we have grown and constantly developed to become a world-renowned provider of innovative textile solutions.

“Together, we can build on our manufacturing heritage to ensure industry is as important to Brighouse’s future as it was to our past.”