IAIN WRIGHT: Success blowing in the wind for firm

JDR showcase event.'Pupils from English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College
JDR showcase event.'Pupils from English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College

The prosperity of Hartlepool improves through the success of good, innovative firms, producing goods and services which are sold around the world. Such success means that more jobs, paying good wages, will be created in the town.

One of the best examples of such a successful firm in the town is JDR Cables. JDR supplies subsea power cables largely to the offshore energy industry.

It is a great engineering and manufacturing company in Hartlepool, demonstrating that the town’s economic future and wealth and job creation will be based on what Hartlepool has always done well: good engineering and manufacturing skills.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to be invited to an event at JDR, in which the company showcased in front of over 200 year ten GCSE pupils from the five secondary schools in the town how there can be a good and rewarding career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills – the so-called STEM subjects. Using the theme, “where does energy come from?” JDR was able to ignite pupils’ interests in the skills, talent and capabilities needed to ensure that our homes and business can be provided with energy and electricity.

In the open day, pupils were given the opportunity to interact with some of the technologies used to design, install and operate wind farms. It wasn’t just about that, however: Hartlepool College, which is one of the success stories in apprenticeship training not just in the North East but across the entire country, had a flight simulator, in which pupils (and I) had a great time attempting to land a plane at Newcastle Airport.

The purpose of the day was to open up pupils’ minds to the notion that manufacturing is not a dead or dying industry in this country that we do still make things in Hartlepool and that students currently at school could potentially have a rewarding career in engineering.

Such success was seen again this week, with the great news that JDR has won a massive contract from Siemens Offshore Contractors to design, manufacture and supply the cables for 84 Siemens wind turbines off the coast of Scotland. This is a much needed boost for the Hartlepool economy.

The cables will be built in the town and should provide further opportunities for apprenticeship, training and jobs within Hartlepool. This shows that the firm’s ambitious plans for expansion are paying off.

The UK offshore wind market is the biggest such market in the world. There are significant opportunities for companies to get a slice of this market. JDR’s ambition and commitment to the skills of the future by inspiring schoolchildren is truly commendable. I will always champion great companies in Hartlepool and work to ensure that they can become ever more successful in the future.

I congratulate JDR on this great new order and hope to be able to champion and celebrate further such wins in the future.