Company set to take on 80 new staff

A BLYTH firm is set to create dozens of jobs after being offered funding of almost £700,000.

Tharsus has been offered £690,000 from the government’s Regional Growth Fund to help it expand.

Bosses at the engineering company have already earmarked the cash for the creation of 80 jobs over the next two years.

The firm applied for the funding to support its new emphasis on creating engineering and manufacturing partnerships with companies developing new products.

Besides helping pay the wages of new staff, the grant will be spent on investment in new technology and acquiring a new third site offering more than 30,000 sq feet of floorspace.

The conditional offer will support an overall investment of around £3m that will ensure the business, based in Blyth and Hebburn, has the high-tech equipment necessary to develop everything from prototypes to mass-manufactured products.

Tharsus chief executive Brian Palmer said: “It’s extremely positive to be able to announce our success with the Regional Growth Fund bid, especially as south east Northumberland has taken some knocks recently, like the Alcan closure, and we are hopeful of being able to help some of those skilled people back into work.

“This significant funding will help us accelerate our expansion plans, create bright futures for some young people and help us capture a new marketplace rife with opportunities.

“We will invest in our workforce, equipment and infrastructure to gear up for growth as we are in the running for several large contracts that will require this increased capacity.

“Companies like ours need this type of support to be able to gear up for growth or we won’t compete globally to deliver contracts much needed here in the north east.

“As a virtual manufacturing arm for any company investing in product research and development, our skilled engineering team can be working on anything from a touch-screen information unit through to a sizeable hydrogen-generation plant for industry, so having the new technology and space to be able to take on any product is a huge advantage, considering our new direction.

“This grant success is great news for us and the manufacturing scene as a whole in the region.”

Tharsus recently announced that it is increasing its apprenticeship programme to help young people make a start in careers in engineering.

It is recruiting now, and refitting work has already begun on its third production site, also in Blyth, expected to be operational by the end of this year.

The grant application was made together with other manufacturing companies from the region. Their joint bid secured a total of £1.79m.

That payout follows one announced last month of £2m to firms including Morpeth’s Piramal Healthcare UK and Cramlington’s Precision Hydraulic Cylinders and Aesica Pharmaceuticals.