WORK has begun on a new £100 million paint making plant which is set to bring an employment boost to south east Northumberland.
International paint company AkzoNobel has chosen Ashington for the massive investment, which will treble its manufacturing capability in the region as well as bring up to 140 full time jobs to the town.
The plant will take two years to build during which time between 200 and 250 construction jobs will be created.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said: “I am absolutely delighted that construction is starting on the new AkzoNobel site in Ashington.
“This new high-tech manufacturing plant will provide a huge boost to our local economy and deliver much needed job opportunities for local people.
“The decision to make such a huge investment in Ashington is extremely welcome and hopefully AkzoNobel’s confidence in the town will encourage other companies to also choose Ashington as the location for their business.”
The plant is one of the largest manufacturing investments in the region in recent years and will become the home of the company’s Dulux paint operations.
A ceremony was held last Thursday to mark the beginning of construction work at the plant.
Schoolchildren from Hirst Park Middle School, Ashington High School, Bothal Middle School and Blyth’s Bede Academy attended the event, along with the Dulux dog.
The youngsters heard all about the different roles and career paths within the construction industry and had a go at building a model bridge.
AkzoNobel plans to close its manufacturing units in Prudoe and Slough in Berkshire when the factory opens in 2014.
Workers at both sites will be offered the chance to apply for one of the 140 available jobs at the plant.
The community will also be given the chance to take part in the Let’s Colour programme, a global initiative by Dulux, which is donating £1 million to transform one million lives through colour by 2020.
Project director Andy Jackson said: “I think this is a fantastic opportunity for Ashington and also the north east in general.
“This will really help the area as well as bring other partners and people into this new business park.
“We will be looking for skilled workers to come and work for us.
“We will definitely be looking for local talent.
“This will be our largest paint making factory in the UK and we are hoping it will be a destination for all our customers.”
To see a video of the groundbreaking ceremony, click on the player above...