Industry sectors

Derbyshire has major strengths in rail and aerospace, key strengths in automotive, engineering, materials, media and creative and some strengths in fuel cells.

Man operating machine

Advanced engineering and manufacturing

Manufacturing accounts for almost one fifth of all employment in Derbyshire. Derby is a hub of activity for rail, aerospace and automotive industries with Rolls Royce, Bombardier and Toyota having large operations in the city employing over 22,000 people between them. Federal Mogul, JCB, Futaba and Denby Pottery also have long term investments in Derbyshire. With these leading businesses comes lots of smaller businesses that work within their supply chains and lots of opportunities to work within these supply chains.

Food and drink

With access to nearly 80% of Great Britain within four hours drive, Derbyshire is a great attraction for food and drink companies. International renowned food and drinks companies including, Thorntons, Nestle, Global Brands, Moy Park, Swizzels Matlow and Buxton Water all have either major operations or headquarters in Derbyshire. Some are based here because of the natural resources but others because of the central location and excellent transport infrastructure serving the area.


Derbyshire's central location along with high quality employment sites on key infrastructure routes has enabled logistics and distribution companies to thrive in the area. Great Bear, Alloga and The Co-operative have all recently made huge investments along the M1 corridor in Derbyshire for their distribution hubs.

East Midlands Airport is located on the interchange between the A50 and the M1 and is the second largest freight hub in the UK. UPS, DHL, TNT and Royal Mail are all based at the airport providing excellent exporting opportunities.

Research and development

Access to renowned universities, major cities and a fantastic quality of life encourages more and more research and development companies to locate in Derbyshire. The government's health and safety laboratory and Peakdale Molecular are just two organisations located in North West Derbyshire carrying out pioneering research. Their reasons for locating in Derbyshire are simple - they have easy access to good quality skills and an excellent environment in which to live and work.


Visited by over 38 million people per year, the tourism industry in Derbyshire contributes £1.7bn to the local economy every year and employs over 27,000 people. Iconic brands and stunning locations such as the Peak District National Park, Chatsworth House and the National Forest attract millions of tourists each year and encourages more and more businesses to set up or locate in Derbyshire.

Specific sector strengths

An internationally competitive offer in aerospace

Rolls Royce, the world's second largest manufacturer of aero engines is headquartered in Derby where the company employs close to 15,000 people. Rolls Royce supplies both military and civil engines to such customers as Boeing and Airbus. Most of the world's airlines use engines built in Derby and many specify them as opposed to their US competition. Not only is Rolls Royce at the heart of the extensive Midlands aerospace cluster, consisting of 700 companies employing 45,000 people, it is supported by powerful research and development expertise at local universities in which has been developed in partnership with the company and its supply chain.

An internationally competitive offer in rail

Bombardier, the UK's only major rolling stock manufacturer, is based in Derby. The company provides trains for use across the UK and abroad as well as building the newer generation of trams for mass transit systems. Not only does Bombardier act as the hub for an extensive supply chain cluster, other rail technologies flourish in Derbyshire, partly due to Derby's history as a rail centre. The city is home to the largest cluster of rail consultancies in Europe.

A nationally competitive offer in automotive

The automotive industry in the East Midlands is extensive, with more than 500 companies making the regions automotive supply chain one of the strongest in Europe. Toyota produces its Avensis and Auris models at Burnaston in Derbyshire where close to 5,000 people are employed. Key suppliers to Toyota are being attracted to Derbyshire in order to serve its sequenced production system based on 'just-in-time' philosophy. JCB also have a major plant in South Derbyshire where diesel engines are produced in a brand new 160,000 square feet facility.

A nationally competitive offer in fuel cells

Besides its Aero engine business Rolls Royce is also actively pursuing an agenda of fuel cell technology, and together with Loughborough University has opened a brand new facility to produce fuel cell components, developed using technology provided by suppliers in Singapore, Europe and the United States. Fuel cell development and production is seen as being an integral part of the region's commitment to alternative power generation technologies.

A nationally competitive offer in engineering

The location within Derbyshire of so many key companies within the transport sector, together with their essential and complex supply chains, inevitably means that the area is extremely strong within the traditional and more innovative engineering disciplines that such companies demand. Originally based on historical factors the development of Derbyshire's engineering strengths has continued and adapted to meet the needs of modern transport technologies. Academic and skill strengths have in turn attracted other engineering companies to set up production facilities and administrative headquarters, and this will continue to be one of the factors attracting such companies into Derbyshire.

A nationally competitive offer in media and creative industries

Derby is the centre of a world class interactive games niche. Tomb Raider featuring Lara Croft, one of the best selling games of all time, was designed in the city, by Core Design. Eurocom, the UK's leading independent games developer, with 270 people working in its Derby studio, has created some of the best selling games in the industry, steadily expanding development to cover all the major consoles and handhelds.

A regionally competitive offer in materials and textiles

The region has a long history of materials, textiles and design. This heritage is proving invaluable today, as technology and new processes, partly fuelled by strengths in transport technologies, create the materials of the future. The East Midlands is home to 2,300 textile related companies employing 85,000 people.

Included in these statistics are companies supplying technical textiles to the transport sector, as well as manufacturers of new technology high performance composites. One such company, Advanced Composites Group, is based in Derbyshire and supplies high performance composite products to the motorsport, aerospace, marine and automotive industries worldwide.