A mutli-million pound scheme is aiming to breath new life into the county by stimulating growth and enhancing employees’ skills.
Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, in conjunction with Northumberland County Council, has been awarded £11.75m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to help boost the economy.
The money will be used to deliver a programme that will provide financial support to businesses across Northumberland to encourage the creation of new sustainable jobs and the safeguarding of existing jobs.
The money will also be used to help the growth of skills and talent and the acceleration of inward investment in the county.
The Northumberland Business Growth Programme has been developed by Arch in partnership with Northumberland County Council and Rio Tinto Alcan and is being introduced in direct response to the closure of the aluminium smelter of Rio Tinto Alcan at Lynemouth, leading to the loss of over 500 direct jobs.
The programme complements Alcan’s Regional Economic Development Programme which also aims to provide replacement jobs.
Peter McIntyre, Arch Group managing director, said: “The funding available will be a great boost to Northumberland’s economy and help to provide support for investment and businesses.
“It will help to kick-start developments in areas such as the Blyth Enterprise Zone as well as providing valuable funds to attract new investors and help local businesses to grow.”
The programme is now open to applications from businesses located or planning to locate in Northumberland and consists of three themes.
n A Sites and Premises Fund which will provide grants to businesses looking to invest in new premises and property extensions, to enable growth
n An Accelerating Business Growth Fund that will provide grants or loans to enable businesses to expand, develop new markets, products or services; access finance to enable growth; help Alcan supply chain firms and others to diversify; attract inward investment and support training
n An Apprenticeship and Training Fund which will support the provision of advanced and higher level apprenticeships in the engineering and manufacturing sectors and develop a highly skilled and productive workforce.