Shaping a bright future

Stephen Catchpole

Stephen Catchpole

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HARTLEPOOL has once again provided the highlights for the Tees Valley economy in a month of steady growth.

Farmfoods, Stadium, Tata Steel and PD Ports all announced boosts for the jobs market during March, according to a new study.

The latest briefing on the state of the local economy has been issued by regeneration agency Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU).

A spokesman said: “In March, the Tees Valley economy followed a similar trajectory to February, with net job increases.

“More than 190 jobs were created, predominantly in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors particularly those supplying the automotive, rail and oil and gas industries.”

The spokesman described March as “ a few stories of reported job gains, each with a moderate number of jobs.

“Positively, there were very few losses reported.”

The highlights included electronics designer and manufacturer Stadium Group to take on a further 30 employees in Hartlepool.

It follows an internal restructure and an agreement with Siemens to make digital radio displays and printed circuit boards for the rail industry.

The owners of Hartlepool’s dockland, PD Ports, announced that it was turning 13 dock operations apprenticeships into permanent roles.

Global manufacturer Tata Steel is taking on 22 new apprentices in Tees Valley at their sites at Hartlepool and Skinningrove, with training for three years to begin in September.

And a new Farmfoods store is planned in Hartlepool, bringing 15 jobs.

TVU, which has managing director Stephen Catchpole at the helm, also had good news of its own during March.

The Government agreed to Lord Heseltine’s recommendation of allowing areas, including the Tees Valley, more control over the funding they receive from Central Government.

And in a further boost, a survey of North-East small businesses found many to be optimistic about their future, with more than half expecting to increase turnover by more than five per cent in 2013.

They said the biggest barrier to growth was identified as access to finance.