By Daniel Hunter

Business Secretary Vince Cable is visiting Hull[/]b today (Monday) to announce more than [b]£1 million funding for the laser technology company Rofin-Sinar, creating nearly 60 new highly skilled jobs.

The government money is being provided through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Funding through the RGF supports private investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment outside of London. Rofin-Sinar’s £5 million project will develop lasers that can cut through touchscreen glass on smartphones much faster, reducing manufacturing times. The funding will also allow the company to relocate to a new factory.

A total of 14 companies in the Humber have been awarded £2.4 million in RGF funding as part of the Humber LEP programme in the last five months, creating nearly 200 jobs and helping to secure a further £10 million of private sector investment.

Vince Cable will also visit Hull College’s School of Construction where he will be accompanied by the CBI Director General John Cridland. The visit comes a week after the publication of the industrial strategy for construction which sets out how government will work with the sector to help it grow by 70% by 2025.

The School of Construction is one of the UK’s largest providers of construction skills training. Vince Cable and John Cridland will then meet apprentices from the college who are refurbishing derelict properties for low income families on the city’s Preston Road estate.

Vince Cable said: "This region faces many economic challenges, but can also take advantage of many new opportunities and there is no reason why, like the local football team, Hull and the Humber area as a whole should not be on the up.

“We are committed to supporting businesses and creating highly skilled jobs in this area. The new money announced today for Rofin-Sinar is in addition to £77 million already allocated through the Regional Growth Fund since its creation.

“More people are being trained in the skills that Hull and Humber businesses need. In the last year there has been around a 10% increase in the number of apprenticeships here. This is as a result of our decision to prioritise skills funding, so employers have access to the talent they need and young people from all social backgrounds have the chance to find fulfilling jobs.”

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “This is a great example of business and the government working together for growth.

“Rofin-Sinar is an exciting and ambitious medium-sized manufacturer of industrial lasers looking to build on its success to design the next generation of products — the Regional Growth Funding will help it to invest in R&D and take on new highly skilled staff to achieve their ambitions.”

Today the Business Secretary will also open a £350 million bioethanol plant at Vivergo in Hull. The new plant is the UK’s biggest bioethanol producer and the largest single-source supplier of animal feed. It will produce 420 million litres of bioethanol a year at full capacity, equivalent to a third of the UK’s current demand.

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