Steel chief backs the bid

Simon Hamilton
Simon Hamilton

AN enterprise boss has given the thumbs-up to a Hartlepool Mail-backed bid to bring extra power to the region.

Praise for the efforts being made by the NEvolution campaign has come from UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary.

Its regional manager Simon Hamilton welcomed plans which would hopefully see more responsibility for transport, skills and funding being handed to local experts by Whitehall.

He said: “The North-East is a great region with talented entrepreneurs, exciting businesses and an enthusiastic workforce.

“We welcome any collaboration that helps to support the regeneration of our steel areas by creating jobs and providing the skills and qualifications that employers need.”

UK Steel Enterprise was set up more than three decades ago.

Since then, it has invested more than £17m in the Northern region to support around 1,100 companies.

More than £12m has been spent to provide business premises and more than 16,000 jobs have already been created.

Mr Hamilton added: “It is good to see the region’s media, businesses and organisations working together to make the North stronger and more successful,” said Simon Hamilton.

“There is a lot already going on and that can be built on.

“Finance is vital and we work to support businesses with funding that they may find it difficult to source elsewhere.”

UKSE has already supported firms including a Hartlepool-based building services company already employing 170- skilled bricklayers and planning to create another 40.

UK Steel Enterprise, which runs the Innovation Centre at Queens Meadow invested in a multi-million pound extension in 2006, creating 46 additional offices.

But the organisation has gone further and helped projects in the skills sector.

Mr Hamilton said: “Through our Community Support Fund we have been able to back a number of projects run by The Prince’s Trust and other organisations in Tees Valley that are designed to help give unemployed youngsters the valuable skills and CVs that will help them into work.

“It is important that employers in our region have access to the skills they need to grow their businesses as well as to the funding they need.”