A STOCKTON engineering and construction firm could take on up to 100 former Corus steelworkers as it looks to expand its temporary workforce.
Norwegian-owned Aker Solutions was one of around 35 firms that exhibited at Corus’ Teesside Cast Products plant in Redcar during a two-day employment and training event attended by more than 1,030 employees and contractors who were set to lose their jobs.
The plant was mothballed last month with the loss of 1,600 direct jobs and a similar number of contract staff.
But news that Aker is hoping to recruit skilled process engineers, planners and project controllers has given them a potential lifeline.
The UK operation of the Norwegian giant has already doubled head-count at Stockton to more than 600 since it moved to a new base at the Surtees Business Park four years ago.
The Teesside site said many of the new positions would be on a temporary basis initially but with a view to making the jobs permanent.
Doug Gordon, vice president of finance for Europe, Middle East & Africa region, said: “The Stockton office has grown from about 300 to 600 staff and we are looking to add another 100 staff in the next 12 months.
“The variety of posts we have ranges from commercial and process engineers to planners and project controllers; we have about 24 different job types to fill.”
The company works in the power generation, nuclear decommissioning, water management, mining and metals, oil, gas and process sectors. It has been supported by a £1.4m Grant for Business Investment from development agency One North East.
“I’m very clear that we would not be here in these new premises in Stockton if it were not for the support we have had from One North East,” said Mr Gordon.
“Our success I attribute to our tremendously loyal and committed workforce, the vast majority of which are Teesside born, bred and educated.”
Minister for the North East, Nick Brown MP, said Aker deserved credit for successfully strengthening and expanding its business.
He said: “The company demonstrates that by diversifying and developing the private sector in our region, backed by public sector support, we can create jobs and stimulate economic growth.”
Aker’s Norwegian parent group broke back into the black in the final three months of last year, posting pre-tax profits of £69.9m compared with a £50.5m loss in the same period in 2008.