Staff need to be fab to work in new Sunderland lab

FabLabs enthrall youngsters.
FabLabs enthrall youngsters.
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The search has begun for a team to run Wearside’s new FabLab.

A manager, two technicians and a host of volunteers are needed to make sure the region is plugged into the global network of FabLabs, when the University of Sunderland opens its new creative learning-and-making workspace in Shackleton House in the city centre this September.

Tony Ikwue

At its heart FabLab is a technical hub for innovation and invention.

Offering a diverse range of specialist digital and design fabrication equipment, FabLab Sunderland will be a creative space where anyone can make almost anything.

The FabLab concept, which started in America, combines a workspace, community-maker space and learning zone, encouraging people from all walks of life to collaborate, exchange ideas and make things using the specialist equipment on site.

Each FabLab is a unique space, but linked to a global network of 350 other FabLabs across the world.

Tony Ikwue, director of enterprise and innovation at the university, said: “Sunderland has a history and a passion for enterprise and innovation, so bringing the first FabLab to the North East demonstrates our commitment to build on this.

“At its heart, FabLab is a technical hub for innovation and invention, stimulating entrepreneurship and a culture of learning and creativity.”

Jason Legget, project lead for FabLab Sunderland, said, “FabLabs have become an important aspect of truly innovative cities across the world.

“The North East has such a brilliant heritage of creative enterprise.

“Who knows, someone out there right now could be the next Sir Joseph Swan and have their own ‘lightbulb moment’ in FabLab Sunderland. We envisage the FabLab offering easy-access support to SMEs, connecting regional businesses with a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators and creating new innovative jobs for people across the region.”

At FabLab Sunderland, equipment will allow users to sketch their ideas, learn how materials work and test the movement of objects in practice.

FabLab users can develop their ideas using the latest software, digital fabrication equipment and tools to create functional prototypes and parts from many materials.

Full job descriptions and how to apply for the FabLab posts are available on the University of Sunderland’s careers website