The facility was built on what was once the runway of Sheffield city airport and is 6,200-square-metres.

“There is no better place on the planet than Sheffield to become an engineer, and no better company on the planet to work as an engineer,” said Greg Clark. “Boeing choosing Sheffield as its first European home is testament to the region’s capabilities, talent pool and strong manufacturing supply chains which are vital to job creation and creating value for local economies.”

Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of manufacturing, welcomed 25 young apprentices in the audience to the Boeing community and presented a short film that highlighted their role in the new facility which will manufacture more than 100 different high-tech actuation components for the 737 and 767 wing trailing edge.

None of this would have happened, Jenette added, without the vision and inspired leadership of two men: Adrian Allen and Keith Ridgway, founders of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. “They had the vision, we are just the people who are operationalising the vision,” she said.

AMRC Executive Director and founder, Adrian Allen, said: “This has been a dream day for all of us. Twenty-years ago we went knocking on the doors of Boeing in St Louis believing that if we kissed enough frogs one day we would find a prince. Boeing is that prince.

“The one thing you learn working with Boeing is that they think big, so they were able to buy into our vision from the very start. It’s been great to open this facility and see so many young people from across the region who will be playing a vital role in the manufacture of Boeing airplanes. But this, I believe, is just the beginning. There is much, much more to come.”

His friend and co-founder Executive Dean, Keith Ridgway, said: “Jenette is right; our success is all down to our people and the relationships between our partners. The University of Sheffield had faith in us from the very start, when we were just a handful of people with a fanciful dream. And Boeing had faith in us because they connected with our passion and commitment to engineering and manufacturing excellence. If we retain that passion and keep to the vision, the sky is the limit.”

Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council said: “The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is a world class facility at the heart of our region’s economy. It has seen fantastic success and we are delighted to be home to Boeing’s first European facility.”

Boeing Sheffield will manufacture more than 100 different components for its 737 and 767 aircraft at the new facility.