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The Prime Minister opens EM3 funded aerospace research facility

Last updated 02 October 2023
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The Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiling a plaque opening ARIC

The Prime Minister opened a brand-new research centre, partially funded by Enterprise M3 LEP, at Farnborough College of Technology.

Boris Johnson’s tour of the Aerospace Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC) tied in with his visit to nearby Farnborough International Airshow.

Enterprise M3 (EM3) allocated £2.5million towards the building of the centre from the Local Growth Fund. The dedicated aerospace education and innovation facility features a range of spaces for employers, universities, and students to work together where ideas can be brought to life with the support of industry experts.

While at the college, which was recently rated as Outstanding by Ofsted, the Prime Minister said he was impressed with the research centre where both employers and students will collaborate on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Maths (STEAM) initiatives.

He said: “It’s been fantastic to meet students at the Aerospace Research and Innovation Centre here in Farnborough, who are going to be the future of the UK’s aviation industry.”

 “We need to keep investing in high technology and skills, not only because it drives jobs and growth, but because it will help us tackle future challenges and opportunities – from bolstering our aviation security to powering zero carbon flights.”

Led by Principal CEO Virginia Barrett, the Prime Minister was also introduced to the college’s hugely successful Esports (electronic sports) team. He also met a group of aeronautical engineering apprentices who were working on the college’s light aircraft.

She said: “We were immensely pleased to end the first year out of lockdown with both our Outstanding Ofsted rating and this fantastic visit from the Prime Minister. Staff and students have worked so hard in the past year to be their best and therefore this visit was a great way to show Mr Johnson what has been happening at the college.”

“With ARIC formally launched, I look forward to seeing the centre continue to expand with more companies working with the college as the industry continues to work towards more low-carbon and green initiatives.” 

EM3 Chair, Michael Queen said: “We’re delighted to see ARIC opened by the Prime Minister, who clearly recognises the importance the aerospace sector based in the EM3 area has on the future prosperity of the UK economy.”

“This superb facility will provide educational opportunities for both apprentices and current employees from local businesses, and support smaller companies to research and innovate to achieve greater competitiveness and long-term sustainability.”

“By working with local employers, Farnborough College of Technology, is playing a crucial role in helping to train the aerospace engineers of the future.”




Farnborough College of Technology
GU14 6SB
United Kingdom

From 1 April 2024, the responsibility for LEP functions across the Enterprise M3 LEP region has transferred to Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.

The Enterprise M3 Board met for the last time in March 2024 and Enterprise M3 LEP is no longer operating as an organisation.

For any enquiries relating to economic development across the counties of Hampshire and Surrey, please visit the Hampshire County Council website and Business Surrey respectively.

Please note that Enterprise M3 LEP staff have transferred to Hampshire County Council to continue to deliver services and activities in Hampshire, including the Growth Hub, the Careers Hub, work on key business sectors, and trade and investment.  
They can be contacted at

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