YOUNG apprentices and business leaders were among the people met by Business Minister Michael Fallon today (15 November 2012), as he officially launched a brand new manufacturing facility for Tharsus Group in Blyth.
The opening of the new 31,000 square foot high tech site marked the start of a new era for Tharsus, a company whose ambition to reach new markets, secure larger contracts, and create more jobs and apprenticeships has seen an overall investment of £3 million in the last year.
This investment included £690,000 worth of funding from the Regional Growth Fund and a £245,000 Grant for Business Investment. With two sites now in Blyth, one in Hebburn and over 160 staff currently working for the company, Tharsus is well ahead of schedule in creating 80 jobs over a three-year period.
Michael Fallon MP started his tour of the region being joined by business leaders from the North East Institute of Directors and the Entrepreneurs’ Forum for a breakfast briefing to hear first hand about their successes and challenges in the current economic climate, as well as discussing business support in general.
The official opening of Tharsus’ new site followed a site tour of the production floor to meet staff including several young apprentices pursuing a career in engineering.
The Business Minister’s visit comes following the allocation of £1 billion from round three of the Regional Growth Fund, which is expected to deliver around 240,000 jobs for the UK economy.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “The Regional Growth Fund is playing a pivotal role in supporting British manufacturing such as Tharsus in the North East. Government support gives firms the confidence they need to invest, hire skilled staff and grow as part of the local economy.
“Not only are these projects creating much needed jobs for the area but the multiplier effect should not be underestimated in attracting investment and new business to the North East.”
Tharsus chief executive Brian Palmer said: “We are honoured that Mr Fallon could join us to officially open the new site and see the facilities first hand, as well as meet some of our new apprentices who have been able to pursue a career in manufacturing thanks to this funding.
“The investment has helped us realise our ambitions to design a state-of-the-art third facility and recruit and train more local talent. The added space and equipment are instrumental in helping us to secure much larger contracts against global competition and create skilled jobs in an area that has high levels of unemployment.”
Tharsus has developed a niche in its sector referred to as ‘Contract Manufacturing Plus’ offering an end-to-end design, engineering and manufacturing solution to companies bringing innovative new products to market. The company also develops intellectual property for its customers, effectively working as an outsourced research and development department, and providing a route for foreign companies into the European marketplace.
The factory design itself uses modern manufacturing principles, placing the design and engineering teams alongside manufacturing teams, to offer a flexible and responsive approach to customer requirements. Visually the factory floor is clean and contemporary having taken inspiration from the likes of McLaren Automotive that approaches its working environment more like a scientific laboratory than a traditional assembly floor.
“We want both staff and customers walking into our workplace to instantly understand our forward-thinking vision and our passion for innovation, and today’s visit by the Business Minister has been an excellent way to showcase how important this new site is to our future growth plans,” added Brian.