TEESSIDE University has formed a partnership with a leading manufacturer to work together on skills, innovation and research and development.

Nifco UK’s managing director and European operations officer Mike Matthews visited Teesside University to sign the document with vice-chancellor professor Graham Henderson.

Mr Matthews: “Our ambition as a company is quite simple – to be world-class at everything we do.

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“Very often, the thing that bridges the gap between where we are now and where we want to be, is education.

“Working with Teesside University will strengthen the depth of education and innovation in our business and we will be able to use that relationship to attract world-class talent and, more importantly, develop world-class talent and bring world-class business to Teesside.

“It is important to us that we find as many solutions as possible to build the most highly-skilled, capable team we possibly can.

“Through a combination of the Memorandum  of Understanding with our local University, strong partnerships with training providers who support us with apprenticeships and by up-skilling our people by investing in training, we are ensuring that we have the skills base to continue to grow Nifco, year by year.

“Talented, committed people are what power this company, and we believe that helping them grow is the key to unlocking the potential in Nifco UK.“

Professor Henderson contributed to the recently-published Witty Review, a government commissioned report which called for universities to be drivers of economic growth.

He said the partnership with Nifco, based at Eaglescliffe, near Stockton, was an example of a university working with business to stimulate the local economy.

He said: “Nifco is a great asset to the Tees Valley and the North-East and we’re delighted to be working with the company.

“The way in which Nifco has invested in skills and innovation and research and development is to be admired and if we can help with that, that’s fantastic.

“Signing this Memorandum of Agreement is a landmark event and it’s saying that we want to be a part of the economic development of the Tees Valley and want to work with companies like Nifco.“

Professor Cliff Hardcastle, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Business Engagement), said: “This is the culmination of years of working together and the beginning of a much closer relationship in the future.

“I am confident that this partnership will help Nifco succeed in its aims and we will benefit from its sector expertise and discipline and its reach across the world.“