COO Ben Ackroyd speaks on driving innovation and growth

Porterbrook COO Ben Ackroyd was among leaders from businesses across the Stratford District at the Driving Innovation and Growth Summit on 17 February, an event organised by the Stratford-on-Avon District Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, and the University of Warwick.

The summit showcased the strengths of the area as a location for high-value, high-growth and innovation-led businesses, and gave an opportunity to inform the emerging economic and growth agenda locally.

Ben spoke on our investment in the Stratford District since establishing the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre in 2021, with significant investment in upgrading the site including over £1 million spent with Warwickshire businesses.

The Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre and the Stratford District is playing a crucial role in the changing landscape of the UK rail industry and is helping to support national net zero targets. Ben spoke about some of the exciting innovations which are being developed and tested at the site including HydroFLEX the UK’s first hydrogen-ready passenger train and HybridFLEX, Britain’s first battery-diesel train.

There was also a focus on the significant change in the rail industry workforce over the next decade, and how Long Marston’s infrastructure and facilities are well placed to assist industry training and recruitment needs.

Highlighting our commitment to supporting the local community, Ben shared our work with Primary Engineer, an organisation that aims to encourage more young people to consider careers in STEM-related professions. Through this partnership we are supporting 10 local schools to receive the Primary Engineer programme.

You can find out more about the Summit here.