A RUNCORN MP is supporting the ambition for more young people in Halton to join a world class science and innovation campus on their doorstep.

Sci-Tech Daresbury is home to around 1,600 employees and nearly 150 high tech companies, with huge expansion plans in the pipeline.

As a partner in the campus, The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation, is keen to attract more local people to work there by improving engagement with nearby schools.

STFC, which itself employs 500 people at the on-site Daresbury Laboratory, says about 10 per cent of the current campus workforce is from Halton.

Mike Amesbury, who recently visited the site within his Weaver Vale constituency, said: “I was pleased to learn there is an ambition to do more in persuading local young people to consider a career at Sci-Tech Daresbury.”

“And I was delighted to hear STFC talk about the continued success of its apprenticeship scheme, having met some of the young people on previous visits.”

The Labour MP is proud the original Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory, which led to the development of Sci-Tech Daresbury, was officially opened by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1967.

He added: “What is going on at Daresbury is of global significance.

“For example, supercomputers and artificial intelligence at the Hartree Centre are driving progress across a range of sectors including green technology and healthcare by drawing on massive databases of information.

“The site’s long history with particle accelerators has been helping to develop new cancer therapies that target malignant cells more effectively with less collateral damage to healthy cells.

“And as part of the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre, Daresbury has helped incubate more than 100 companies over 10 years.

“This is world leading science in action at a site that could eventually employ thousands of people in high skill jobs.”

The MP promised to lobby for improved public transport to the site, to help raise the profile of Sci-Tech Daresbury’s work and to champion the cause for better recruitment and retention in the science sector.

Paul Vernon, executive director of business and innovation for STFC and head of Daresbury Laboratory, said: “Daresbury Laboratory is the national laboratory in the north and is an important part of the Liverpool City Region and Halton landscape. 

“We are always striving to help the local community in bringing profile and by providing employment opportunities for our residents.  I’m personally passionate about encouraging local young people to pursue science as a career so that we can build our future workforce from local communities.

“I welcome the continued interest and support from Mike and am looking forward to working more closely with him to increase our impact on the local and regional economy.”

The MP also met trade union representatives Dr Lee Jones and Mark Hancock, chair and vice-chair of the Daresbury section of Prospect, who both work for STFC.

Lee said: “The laboratory is the jewel in the crown of the region’s scientific infrastructure, and it is a matter of record that it is cheaper to do science and business here than in other areas of the country. 

"We have space to expand, and a pool of scientific and technical staff ready to engage in new projects.”