THE Chancellor of the Exchequer said the future of dozens of young Hartlepool people is secure after the announcement of 200 new jobs at a town fabrication yard.
George Osborne told the Mail he is working “flat out” to improve the fortunes of millions of young people out of work in the UK and praised the workforce in Hartlepool for attracting admiring glances from throughout Europe.
Mr Osborne visited the Heerema Hartlepool site yesterday, on the day the jobs boost was revealed, to launch a £1.4bn project.
As revealed in the Mail earlier this month, Heerema was chosen as one of the sites to provide offshore platforms for the Cygnus gas field development, which will create 4,000 jobs in total in a project lasting until 2013.
Cygnus is the largest gas discovery in the Southern Gas Basin for 25 years, and the sixth largest field in the UK by remaining reserves.
Heerema bosses revealed their “delight” at creating 200 jobs at the Greenland Road site and recruitment will begin early next year.
After a tour of the yard, Mr Osborne said: “This is a great boost for Hartlepool.
“It brings hundreds of jobs and secures the future of young people in the town.
“It’s exactly the type of high-tech manufacturing jobs we want to secure for people.
“I think it’s very striking listening to people talk here today, we have French people, Dutch people, they can go anywhere in the world and they have chosen to come to Hartlepool.”
Tino Vinkesteijn, chief commercial officer of Heerema Fabrication Group, added: “We are absolutely delighted to first of all get the award, and also to be able to create 200 more jobs here at Heerema Hartlepool.
“The Cygnus project is an enormous boost for Hartlepool and the surrounding area and we are honoured to have been awarded this work.
“It’s an honour to welcome Mr Osborne here but it’s not just the publicity which the visit brings, it also gets the message out there which shows the quality and expertise we have here at Heerema Hartlepool.”
Mr Vinkesteijn said the firm will look to tap into the “workforce in Hartlepool” which has served Heerema so well in the past.
The Cygnus gas field development will provide work for people until 2015.
Heerema will build three topsides for four offshore platforms for the Cygnus field and construction work is expected to get underway on the site before the end of the year.
By 2014, around 450 people will be working on site for this project alone.
Initial contracts worth £375m have now been signed by GDF SUEZ E&P UK on behalf of the partnership and £337m of this will be invested directly in the UK generating an initial 1,200 jobs, most in the North-East.