Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481

Sussex Coast College Hastings has responded to local business demand by developing an exclusive course entitled ‘High Vacuum Technology’ which gives employers and employees the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the high vacuum industry and its requirements.scch-logo

Paul Nash, who developed the course after seeing the need for basic understanding of High Vacuum in Hastings and Rother said, ‘This course is the only one of its kind, nothing else like it exists. We are meeting the needs of local businesses and providing education to those already working in the industry for large and small organisations.’

Paul has 20 years’ experience in the High Vacuum industry, working as a manufacturing engineer and production cell manager for BOC Edwards in Eastbourne before moving into engineering teaching.  Before that, Paul worked in the defence industry on Flight Control Systems so is used to the demands of high-tech industries. He feels that it is essential that we meet the educational demands of today’s and tomorrow’s businesses by providing exceptional training to students. Indeed, his project for his teaching qualification was on ‘meeting the needs of local employers’.

Tuition on the new course is provided by qualified teaching staff with a background in the vacuum and high-tech engineering industry. Some content is delivered at local manufacturers’ premises and delivery is supported by guest lecturers from local vacuum businesses.

Mike King, of specialist manufacturers Photek, said, ‘Photek have benefited a lot from the course. We recently had two production engineers attend and they were able to adopt the new skills and practices and bring them into the work place. This helped improve both quality and production at Photek.’

Mike concluded, ‘The course is beneficial to both employee and company. It has boosted skills of the employee which helps with confidence and improves productivity and morale.’

Katie Binns works in sales for Kurt J Lesker, a leading global provider of high-quality vacuum products and systems. ‘This course has been very informative and helped me greatly with my day-to-day job. I now have a better understanding of what customers are asking for and what they are explaining to me.’

‘The course was neatly divided into digestible portions, all relevant to the vacuum industry. As there are many people in this town who work within this sector, it’s great to see that the college is acknowledging this: it was a useful introduction to the world of vacuum. The timing of the course fitted perfectly around work hours and the delivery of the course was varied and interesting: we even had the chance to hear and learn from people working in the field. This course is a definite must for anyone in the vacuum business.’

To find out more about studying the High Vacuum Technology course at SCCH, call 01424 442222 or email pnash@sussexcoast.ac.uk.

Following the success of Tec 66 2013, the management team for the conference and exhibition  have decided to make Tec 66 2014 and all events thereafter an annual event and expect it to become one of the premier vacuum exhibitions & conferences across Europe.


Tec 66 2014 at Sussex Coast College

Along with the annual event they have also decided to have the event at Sussex Coast College who are already developing bespoke vacuum technology training courses for the industry.

This years event will definitely have an international feel to it as they are currently in discussions with companies in Dubai and the United States as well as other European countries to attend.

Key speakers from the industry and academia are currently being approached along and so far Maggie Aderin-Pocock has been confirmed and we will have more news on additional speakers for the event soon for you.

In the meantime you can register for the event by emailing Jim Christy (email address here). The email address is the same for those that may want to exhibit.

Tec 66 2014 is on the 27th October 2014.

Business In Hastings has an exclusive report from Sarah Owen, Labour candidate for MP in Hastings & Rye regarding her recent trip to China to exchange ideas and promote the local Vacuum Technology and other high tech manufacturing industries that the Hastings & Rother area becoming world famous for. Here in her own words is an overview of the trip.

We also have a small gallery of images from here trip which you can go to here.

Hastings: The South East manufacturing hub.


Sarah arriving at Songshun Lake high tech park

When I talk to people outside of Hastings they normally say to me; ‘Oh, arrow in the eye, tapestry, invasion by Normans.’ They’re far less likely to know about building components for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, high-powered lasers or high vacuum technology. Still less likely are people to mention that Hastings is the high tech hub of South-East England.

Hastings, which is my home town is the birth place of innovations including the first television broadcast to teaching Turing, but Hastings doesn’t just deserve that recognition, our future as a town depends on it. It isn’t enough to just be a high-tech hub, Hastings needs to be known as a high-tech hub.

Global influence

The investment that our businesses need to grow, thrive, and create the well-paid, high skilled jobs that our town needs, depend on our town’s reputation. However, in today’s world, our competitors, clients, and supply chains are not just limited to the UK, they’re global.

They’re in cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen in southern China, where I visited earlier this month.

These two cities, both in the province of Guangdong, are China’s high tech pioneers. Guangdong’s open, outward-looking economic policies stand greatly at odds with the lagging social and political development in the rest of China – the world’s second largest economy whilst still being a developing nation. However, there is still plenty that we could learn, gain and offer this industrial powerhouse – with particular regard to high tech manufacturing.

Growth & Investment

Since the late 80s, Guangdong area has seen phenomenal growth, seeing only a brief dip in GDP growth during the global recession to a still enviable 7.2% – putting the UK’s forecast (and overdue) 2.2% in the shade. As a province, it has consistently led China’s growth over the past 30 years and is predicted to grow at above 8% and contribute another $900 billion to China’s economy.

None of this happened by accident. It took a deliberate, conscious decision by the Chinese government to turn fields of crops and low grade industry into science parks, technology hubs and business clusters. It was only possible with investment from business, the state, academia and by attracting support from overseas.

One example is the Guangzhou Science City, which is home to almost every kind of science and high tech industry you can think of including high vacuum, bio-tech, IT and renewable technology to name just a few. From its inception, the science city hasn’t stood still and constantly looks to support and welcome the next big technological innovation.

Support and R&D

This is heavily supported by the state through the Guangzhou Development District. On my trip, I met the Director of the committee responsible for it, who explained not only how much they had financially supported businesses in the science city, with reduced rents and the highest grade facilities but also practical business support and R&D. There is now 24/7 support for new businesses – his phone was never switched off.

We need to ask ourselves what we can learn from how they encourage growth.  This is most evident when attracting foreign investment, where applications for foreign direct investment are completed by the authorities within 3 working days. Without this commitment, and the continued support of the local development departments, thriving companies like Rio Bio would not have been able to expand as quickly as they had.

Maintaining our position on the global stage

Next to the continued austerity and slow growth we’re faced with here, Guangdong’s example is enviable. When I told both the Chinese businesses and development committee that our own local council will face a 70% reduction in funding from central government by 2017, they asked how on earth we expected to support growth in Hastings? And that is, quite literally the million dollar question.

Whether this support is replicated in the UK by our calls for a dedicated British Investment Bank to support SMEs, a cut in business rates or freezing energy bills which will have a direct impact on particularly manufacturing business’s sky rocketing overheads – it is clear that Government must act now to provide practical support to our local industries if we not only want to maintain our position, but to continue being the birth place of innovation.

Hastings: Time to show the world we’re open for business


Sarah at the first Tec 66 event in summer with Maggie Aderin Pocock, Lord Bassam and Council leader Jeremy Birch and business leaders.

Hastings is home to established names with world-class reputations, General Dynamics, Torr Scientific and Photek among them. But we need some of the reputation of those brands and our excellent experienced service industry, to not only be located in our town, but associated with it as well.

Businesses in Guangdong are crying out for the quality that Hastings’ businesses can offer, as much as we are for high quality jobs. But Hastings’ reputation for high-tech manufacturing and services is barely known elsewhere in Britain, let alone on the other side of the world, in China.

Tec 66: Why its important

This is why events such as Tecc 66 are so important. We need to be prepared to shout about what we are good at, and sell to a global market, which is what I did at every opportunity that I was visiting businesses in China. Nothing less will do in today’s globalised world.

That is why I am working to bring more international exhibitors to the next Tec 66 event and other similar events for our creative industries. That will help build on existing trade links, support our businesses to join major international supply chains, create jobs and ultimately ensure that Hastings has an economic identity that is known worldwide.

To get in touch with Sarah or to follow her via Twitter please see below

Email: Sarah@sarahowen.org.uk

Twitter: @sarahowen_

You can also find out more about Sarah at her website here.

Torr Scientific has welcomed Zoe Batchelor who has joined as Accounts & Personnel Coordinator and Calvin Hatter who is TSL’s ICT apprentice.

Calvin, who attends Sussex Coast College one day per week, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for me to gain experience in IT and to learn about the UHV industry at the same time”.

Calvin will be attending Sussex Coast College one day a week and will be studying City and Guilds Level 3 in ICT Professional Competence. TSL’s Victoria Champion, Customer Service Coordinator, and Benjamin Groves, Production Engineer, also attend Sussex Coast College

torr factory

Torr Scientific Hastings

once per week for The High Vacuum Technology training course designed for and in association with the high density of vacuum technology companies located in the Hastings and East Sussex area.

Sussex Coast College Hastings has developed the bespoke training course on Vacuum Technologies. This 11 week part-time course gives the opportunity for employees of local businesses to enhance their knowledge of the High Vacuum industry and its requirements; it is also delivered by a lecturer with a background in High Vacuum Equipment manufacturing.

The pilot course was started at SCCH Ore Valley campus on October 1st and has attracted 19 students from seven different local companies. The course covers a wide range of topics, from ‘what is vacuum?’ to methods of vacuum measurement, creation and application giving students an understanding of the theories behind the work they do.

There are only three days to go until the start of Tec 66 at the Sussex Exchange, if you are going to the main conference and exhibition on Monday 16th September and haven’t already registered yet then you need to go to the registration page on the Innovation Centres website here.

The full program of talks, demonstrations and activities can be seen on the Business In Hastings Tec 66 page here and for a full exhibitor list please visit our previous news piece here.

You can also register for Tec 66 on the day at the Sussex Exchange.


East Sussex and Hastings in particular have firmly established themselves as a global centre for high technology companies and to showcase this there will be the ‘Tec 66 Vacuum Technology Conference & Exhibition’ which will give visitors the chance to see latest technology and innovations within the industry along with hearing from speakers from the industry and various workshops to attend. It is on Monday 16th September 2013 and will be held at the stunning Sussex Exchange conference centre.

The conference will be opened by technology expert Lord Bassam alongside Maggie Philbin (acclaimed presenter of Bang Goes the Theory, Inside Out and Tomorrow’s World for BBC One) and leading space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, MBE who is currently working on the James Webb Space Telescope  which is the replacement for the groudbreaking Hubble space telescope!It will be a fascinating and informative day for anyone interested in the industry and for those who are looking to know more.

The cost for an exhibition stand is only £200+VAT. Please book at the Innovation Centre website.If you are interested in visiting the exhibition, please go to the Innovation Centre Page