Mersey Maritime is hailing the success of its first 12 months since moving into the Maritime Knowledge Hub.
The trade representative body for the maritime and related industry sectors across the Liverpool city region set up its office within the newly opened Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead, Wirral, in June 2016, and has seen an increasingly busy stream of visitors pass through its doors.
Mersey Maritime Chief Executive Chris Shirling-Rooke said the pace of activity within the Hub had already far exceeded first year predictions, and bore out a real demand for the facility.
He said: “Moving into our own premises was always the aim. We knew from consultation with our 200 plus members and public sector partners that demand for a central resource of this type was definitely there, but what we didn’t predict was how much of a catalyst for growth it would turn out to be.
“The Hub provides a very visual representation of who we are and the work we’ve been doing for the past 14 years. It has allowed us to expand the range of services Mersey Maritime offers to the sector and have the space to make them happen. Since January alone, we’ve organised over 41 business events and seen almost 2000 people come through our doors, which has more than doubled what we were doing the previous year.
“We are also supporting fast growth small and medium sized [SME] businesses by providing office space and tailored business support, all of which is contributing towards making our sector great again. By anyone’s standards I think that can be measured as success.”
He added: “What’s really interesting is how the maritime industry has responded. Mersey Maritime is and always will be industry-focused, which means that everything we do is directed towards sectoral growth and the creation of jobs. The businesses we work with recognise and respond to that. They see Mersey Maritime as the facilitator, the vehicle that brings our sector’s many disparate elements together and gives them a single voice, with the Maritime Knowledge Hub as the embodiment of that vision.”
Located directly on the busy A41 leading in and out of Liverpool city centre via the Birkenhead Tunnel, the Maritime Knowledge Hub is a collaboration between Mersey Maritime and partners including Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Wirral Council. It provides a central resource to the maritime industry and related sectors such as energy, manufacturing and offshore oil and gas, for knowledge sharing, research and innovation, training and skills.
World leading simulator-based training suites housed on the top floor of the Knowledge Hub are complemented by a busy programme of business network forums, high-level meetings and workshops designed to engage industry and help build strong local supply chains.
Mersey Maritime signed a partnership agreement LJMU in 2015, which marked an important step forward in Mersey Maritime’s evolution,
“The LJMU partnership and our joint occupation of the Maritime Knowledge Hub has brought industry and academia together in a way that directly benefits the sector in and around Liverpool. Employers recognise the need to upskill the workforce and to recruit the best young minds into the maritime sector so that we can continue to promote Liverpool as world class centre of excellence.
“Our role at Mersey Maritime is to acts as a conduit between these two helping to drive the innovation agenda forward from an academic perspective and, from the employers’ perspective ensuring it has direct relevance and application to ground level operations.
“The Liverpool cluster is upheld as a benchmark for good practice in clustering. We are proud to be one of the strongest and most successful maritime clusters in Europe,” added Mr Shirling-Rooke.