First of 1,000 new jobs are filled

Mayor Linda Arkley celebrates with staff from OGN.
Mayor Linda Arkley celebrates with staff from OGN.

NEW jobs are being created on the banks of the River Tyne after a Wallsend firm won a multi-million pound contract.

Offshore Group Newcastle (OGN) has taken on the first employees of the 1,000 jobs it is creating over the next 12 months after being awarded a £150m contract by US-based Apache Corporation.

Mayor Linda Arkley meets welder Andrew Hunter, 25, from Wallsend.

Mayor Linda Arkley meets welder Andrew Hunter, 25, from Wallsend.

Work is starting on producing a new platform at the largest oil field in the North Sea – Forties Oil Field – which is creating job opportunities for people across the region.

Mayor Linda Arkley visited the firm this week to congratulate OGN on their achievements and to find out what the new contract means for the first of its new employees.

She said: “This is a major step in bringing the North Sea oil and gas market back to life, and will certainly have a positive impact on the borough’s economic wellbeing.

“The OGN contract is not just a tremendous accolade for their hard work but is also an excellent opportunity for local people, who previously would have had to work away to carry out such a trade, to come back home to the north east.”

Welder Andrew Hunter, 25, from Wallsend.

Welder Andrew Hunter, 25, from Wallsend.

And for Andrew Hunter, 25 the job means he has been able to come back home to Wallsend and his family.

The welder could not be happier to be working at Hadrian Yard as he will not miss out on watching his daughter grow up.

He said: “I started work here at the beginning of the year and I absolutely love it.

“There’s a really good group of lads here – the banter is great but we all work very hard too.

“I used to work up in Scotland, near Edinburgh, but it meant I was away from my daughter.

“She’s only four and I haven’t seen her as much as I’d like, so a move back to the north east was a dream come true.

“It was great to come home and find a job that is based in the region. Family is important to me and I’m happy to have a job I enjoy so close to home.

“Working for OGN is fantastic because it provides job security, which is clearly important.

“The initial contract was for 18 months, but beyond that, I think the future is looking bright for the company.”

Over the next 12 months, labourers, administrative staff, engineers and project managers are just some of the roles that will need to be filled.

OGN has agreed to hire labour from a 50-mile radius of the site – and North Tyneside Council, One North East, the Skills Funding Agency and Jobcentre Plus, have joined forces to support the recruitment process.

Up to 80 per cent of construction materials are being sourced from the UK, worth around £40m, generating additional supply-chain jobs.

Craig Melville, chief commercial officer for OGN, said: “We have had a fantastic response to our recruitment drive from tradesmen throughout the Tyne, Tees and Wearside areas.

“It is brilliant that we can provide opportunities for people to work at home where previously they would have spent many weeks away from their family and friends.

“All of our employees are extremely motivated and positive about the Apache project and although it is due to be completed in July 2012, we are hopeful that we can continue to provide secure employment for the north east beyond the Apache project going forward.”