Four in five workers now employed in building a huge wind turbine monopile factory have come from the region.
Postcode data has shown around 80% of those employed on the SeAH Wind site come from within 30 miles – with almost 200 people now in work on the vast complex.
The mammoth £450million monopile manufacturing facility will create 750 direct jobs and 1,500 indirect jobs through supply chains.
Facilities on the site are now taking shape after ground was broken on construction on the 90-acre site in the summer.
When fully operational, the scheme is expected to produce between 100 and 150 monopiles per year which will be transported directly from the factory to Teesworks’ new South Bank Quay facility before heading to the North Sea for installation using specialised pile driving equipment.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The SeAH project is a vital piece of our Teesworks jigsaw. It’s great to see how far it has come just months on from the first spade going in the ground in summer.
“Skilled engineers and workers, who’ve had to travel for hundreds of miles from Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool in the past, are now working close to home on a game-changing scheme with excellent facilities on offer in well-paid jobs.
“We are driving forward with cleaner, safer, and healthier industries of the future. Developers are making the most of our expertise and know-how, and local workers can secure good jobs closer to the place they know and love.”
Construction of two new concrete batching plants is now complete to supply the materials for the facility.
The sheer size of the scheme means it is more economical for the concrete to be produced on site.
The first concrete plant has now started production with the second to be operational in January 2023.
Development of the plants cost £3m – with each set to produce 120 cubic metres of concrete every hour.
This machinery will operate 10 hours per day – but can be ramped up to 24 hours if needed. For scale, a normal concrete mixer truck holds just 6-8 cubic metres.
Hanson has designed and built the structures, and Rainton Construction will take the concrete for use on the huge piles to be drilled – with waterproof concrete being developed for use on the pile caps and slabs.
A huge piling operation is now underway. More than 6,100 piles need to be drilled and each pile can be up to 1m in diameter. Some piles go as deep as 35m.
The scheme is being developed and fully managed by K2 Construction Management on behalf of SeAH.
K2 Senior Project Manager Glenn Forbes said: “Through active engagement with our project partners and by harnessing the power of our teams we’re proud to be creating a model working environment, delivering genuine value and benefits to our clients and partners.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be developing this world-class facility on behalf of SeAH. More than 1,500 local people will soon be employed across this site in turn making a huge economic impact in our local area.”
Facilities for staff are also now up and running with a subsidised canteen, TVs installed for the World Cup and heated coat racks for workers all available.
Stephen Bell, from contractor Wilson James, lives in Park End and often had to travel far for work on major projects.
He added “It’s great to be back close to home and working again. This site and the opportunities it will bring when operational will be game-changing for our local area.
“These are proper real jobs back in our region, ones set to stay for years to come that can provide careers for us and our kids.”