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Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has undertaken a fact-finding tour of an engineering company with a highly skilled workforce, which makes a significant contribution to the local and national economy.

Cummins’ Darlington Engine Plant, which has been in operation for more than 40 years and employs almost 1,000 employees, has established itself as an industry leader in developing low emission engines and exhaust systems.

It has a customer base mainly spread throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia with 64 percent of its engines being sold overseas. As a result, the plant has received several Queen’s Awards for Export.

The factory’s development of advanced diesel engines has created a highly skilled, professional workforce employed in engine assembly, high-level engineering, design, accountancy and marketing roles.

On-going research and development at the plant has ensured that Cummins Euro products have been proven to provide significant environmental benefits.

The company has received Regional Growth Fund support to install state-of-the-art production equipment, including paint booths and drying ovens with the latest automated robotic systems and technology, which have led to quality, efficiency and delivery improvements.

Mr Houchen praised the company for its levels of investment, its focus on reskilling and its commitment to corporate social responsibility, adding that companies of such calibre were ‘absolutely vital’ to the local economy.

He said: “The impression I have here today is that the organisation, the manufacturing facility and the office space is second-to-none.

“It is something we should be able to hold up as a leading light for what we can do in the Tees Valley.”