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Offshore boss calls for supply chain support to capitalise on Green Industrial Revolution

The chief executive of North East offshore firm Tekmar Group has called for better procurement systems to ensure UK firms can benefit from the Government’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the environmental plan to great fanfare last November, revealing ambitions to plough £12bn of investment into the UK renewables sector with the aim of creating 250,000 jobs.

Mr Johnson pledged that UK industrial heartlands including the North East would be at the centre of the plans.

But for those ambitions to come to fruition, the CEO of Newton Aycliffe-based Tekmar said the Government must align with the UK supply chain to make sure companies like his can take advantage of the opportunities at hand.

Growth forecasts point to a fourfold increase in UK wind power by 2030, with even higher increases predicted in Europe and globally.

Tekmar CEO Alasdair MacDonald said: “I would say the 10 point plan from Government is welcomed, but the real opportunity we have to grasp is getting a North East and UK supply chain.

“We have developed technologies now used internationally, and by 2030 we will see a fourold increase in renewables in the UK, fivefold in Europe, so the scale of opportunities is significant. That’s playing out in our half year results, where we saw a 21% increase in our enquiry book.

“The fundamentals are very strong.

““History tells you a lot of work has gone to international contracts and the procurement strategy has to be adressed. That’s a challenge that I see for us.

“Within the domestic supply chain there’s a lot of positivity there with international plans in place – the issue is the element the UK can play. That needs to be more tangible and measured.

“The Government needs to align with the UK supply chain in terms of the 10 point plan.

“Now it needs to be measured so we can see the benefit in terms of investment in jobs, investment for UK firms, so we can continue to evolve the opportunities in the offshore world.”

Mr MacDonald is currently carrying out a full business review at Tekmar to make sure the firm can weather the coronavirus storm and be fit for the future.

In the last half-year, the firm reduced headcount by 6% after enduring one of its most demanding periods, with revenues for the six months ended September 30 falling 11% due to delays to orders and increases in operational costs caused by the pandemic.

Looking ahead, however, Mr MacDonald said that, while Tekmar operates all over the world – including growing workloads in China, Taiwan and North America – the best opportunities are close to home at projects including Dogger Bank. Overseas projects also want to tap into UK expertise.

He added: “We think international companies jumping onto the offshore opportunity will want UK and European know-how, which is exciting for the UK supply chain and the North East should benefit from that as well.”

The company, which operates sites in Newton Aycliffe, Darlington, Blyth and London with representation around the world, currently has 200 employees but when the coronavirus pandemic subsides, the firm hopes to recruit more staff.

Mr MacDonald added: “Part of our plan will be adding jobs in due course. Clearly as long as this growth we are predicting, that will support us and bring more people into the business.”

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