Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing 

Dorset is home to a thriving and varied engineering and manufacturing sector employing around 28,000 people. As a sector this contributes £1.7 billion annually to the region’s economy and there is substantial potential for further growth.

Dorset is a highly attractive region, and is one of the UK’s top areas for high growth digital businesses and second fastest growing area for start-ups in the UK. Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing businesses locate to Dorset for many reasons including:

  • a vibrant and dynamic supply chain supported by key national trade associations and sector organisations such as Make UK, Maritime UK South West (MUKSW), the British Marine Federation (BMF)  West of England Aerospace Forum (WEAF) and the  South West Defence & Security Cluster (SWRDC)
  • joining 315 foreign-owned businesses already established in Dorset including: JP Morgan, Sunseeker International, Yunex Traffic, Honeywell, Magellan, Manitou, Merck, BNY Mellon, Dupont and Caterpillar Marine
  • locating with global leaders in AEM including: Aish Technologies, Atlas Elektronik UK, AVIC Cabin Systems, BAE Systems, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Norco GRP, Global Marine Systems, Coda Octopus, Curtiss-Wright, Loop Technology, Netzsch Pumps, Parvalux Electric Motors and QinetiQ

Download our Investment guide to Dorset's Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Sector

AEM Guide cover

Dorset is home to the Dorset Engineering & Manufacturing Cluster (Dorset EMC), which was created to provide a voice for the sector across Dorset, and enable companies to collaborate, increase their sustainability, and help achieve their full potential. The Dorset EMC has evolved into a successful network of 300+ businesses across different supply chains.

A heat map for Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing companies in Dorset and the South West is available here.  

High Tech Manufacturing & R&D

Dorset has a rich base of R&D and high tech manufacturers reaching across other sub-sectors of industry, ensuring a highly skilled advanced engineering and manufacturing supply chain. High tech manufacturing companies in Dorset include: Aish Technologies, ASM Assembly Systems, Beagle Technologies, Carlisle Fluid Technologies, Dextra Group, Manitou, Eurac Global, Hospital Metalcraft, Loop Technology, Netzsch Pumps, Parkeon, Polyhose (UK), Primetals Technologies, Safi and Yunek Traffic


The UK has the world’s second largest aerospace industry. Dorset counts aerospace as one of its leading key industries. Dorset based companies excelling in aerospace include global and European leaders: AIM AltitudeBAE SystemsCobhamCurtiss-WrightHoneywellMagellan AerospaceSPHEREA Test & Services 

Dorset is a leading hub for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). See our aerospace MRO inward investment opportunity brochure here.

The aerospace supply chain in Dorset is supported by: CopperchaseGA TelesisGSI Westwind Air BearingsUltra ElectronicsValmiera Glass 

Many of Dorset’s aerospace companies help the world’s most significant civil and defence projects with research and development, design and manufacturing.

Dorset is also part of the South West Aerospace cluster of the UK, the largest in Europe. All the Local Enterprise Partnerships in the South West of England have engaged in promoting aerospace as the leading cluster in Europe. Visit the South West Aerospace cluster website.

Within the UK the South West has the largest aerospace cluster and one of the most diverse advanced manufacturing clusters in the country. The region’s extensive network of highly-skilled and innovative suppliers means the South West is the obvious choice for industry giants such as Airbus, Leonardo, Boeing and Rolls Royce to name but a few. To find more about the proposition, click here.


Thanks to its maritime naval history, Dorset is at the forefront of R&D defence with world-class companies based here: AB PrecisionAGI AeronauticsAish TechnologiesAmsafe BridportAtlas Elektronik UKBAE SystemsBMT Defence ServicesChemring Technology SolutionsCoda OctopusDrumgrange,  IAP G3 SystemsQinetiQTods DefenceUltra Electronics NCS Systems

Dorset is also home to several Ministry of Defence Centres of Excellence:

  • The Royal Marines Base Poole, Dorset is the centre for the Royal Marines and Royal Navy amphibious and riverine activities.
  • The Royal Corps of Signals based at Blandford, Dorset is the centre of excellence and training for information computer technology for the British Army.
  • The Armour Centre at Bovington, Dorset is the centre of excellence for training in the core skills of armoured warfare.
  • The Royal Engineers Bridging Camp in Wyke Regis, situated on the Dorset coastline is the only bridging training centre retained by the British Army.

Dorset is also at the forefront of R&D in defence with leading world-class companies based here including: AB PrecisionAGI AeronauticsAish TechnologiesAtlas Elektronik UKIAP G3 SystemsQinetiQ

Marine and Composite Technologies

Dorset is also home to some of the largest players in the field of composite technologies, used in both marine and renewable energy industries:

  • Sunseeker International and The Royal National Lifeboat Institution both invest in R&D and manufacturing of composite technologies within Dorset. Sunseeker has manufacturing units within Poole and Osprey Quay, Portland and the RNLI has invested in a brand new R&D and manufacturing facility at its HQ and College based in Poole.
  • Norco GRP,  a leader in its field in combining composite technology with tidal power generation.

Other leading companies present in Dorset are: WartsilaManor MarineCaterpillar Marine Power UK, Coda Octopus MartechGlobal Marine Systems 

Portland Port is the home port for Global Marine Systems Limited 

Download a copy of our short guide to Dorset's Marine sector.

Further information / proposition 

 There is sector-specific assistance available from the following sources: