MIAH is the brainchild of innovative social enterprise, The Blair Project which specialises in the provision of e-motorsport STEM, where teams of young people learn how to retrofit used petrol go karts into fully electric ekarts which they get to test and race to see which is the fastest and most energy efficient.
MIAH exists to fill a gap within the Greater Manchester innovation ecosystem; the provision of workshop spaces with industrial grade equipment to support SMEs to innovate & collaborate, and train the diverse workforce they need to fuel their future growth and become globally competitive.
Facilitating greater diversity and inclusion in science technology and engineering innovations remains the core mission of The Blair Project. It secured funding from One Manchester Housing to conduct a feasibility study into the creation of a new technical and vocational education centre which would specialise in the provision of training in Industry 4.0 technologies, to support low income residents in disadvantaged wards that surround Manchester Science Park, to access good quality jobs within the innovation ecosystem requiring specialist technical skills.
The core purpose was to bridge the opportunity divide and create pathways to economic mobility by teaching skills to advance careers, increase earning potential and deepen the pool of trained talent to strengthen and grow enterprises in the innovation space. Developing the workforce of the future through the provision of extracurricular STEM activities to allow students aged 11-19 to gain exposure and hands on experience of emerging technologies was another key priority.
The study involved a fact-finding mission to New York to see at first hand the Big Apple’s innovative approach to fuelling the growth of its tech industries which is being driven by diversity. Called the Career Pathway framework, it aligned the City’s system wide education and training ecosystem with specific advancement opportunities, which have proven to be effective in helping poor New Yorkers transition from earning $20k pa to $90k in just nine months!
With the support of Manchester Science Partnerships, £4 million of capital funding was awarded by from central government to fund equipment and associated building costs. MIAH’s development is underpinned by a working group composed of trade bodies, educational institutions, service providers, and local government.
MIAH will bring together industry, research and the community under one roof to develop, test and deploy disruptive advance technologies to pre-commercial readiness, AND in addition, rapidly upskill and retrain the skilled workforce needed to deliver economic growth and prosperity in a way that benefits the broadest range of job seekers and workers. This includes the many small independent garages needing to make the switch to servicing, maintaining and repairing electric vehicles to survive and thrive in a low carbon future.
Alongside technical skills development, MIAH will showcase emerging technologies such as Advanced Manufacturing & Automation, Battery Technologies & Recycling, Renewable Energies, Digital Twinning and Quantum Technologies. The Hub will demonstrate practical every-day applications of ground breaking research to inform, enthuse and inspire.