New programme to give county a fresh jobs boost

A NEW scheme to boost economic development across Northumberland has been launched.

Businesses located or planning to locate in Northumberland are being urged to apply for the programme, which was set up after Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, was awarded £11.75million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

In conjunction with the county council, it will work to secure the creation of new sustainable jobs and the safeguarding of existing jobs, as well as the growth of skills and talent and the acceleration of inward investment.

Arch Group Managing Director Peter McIntyre said: “The funding available will be a great boost to Northumberland’s economy and help to provide support for investment and businesses. It will also help local firms to grow.”

The programme consists of three themes. The first is a sites and premises fund that will give grants to businesses looking to invest in new premises and property extensions.

An accelerating business growth fund 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.

The apprenticeship and training fund will support the provision of advanced and higher level apprenticeships in the engineering and manufacturing sectors to help develop the county’s workforce.

The scheme complements the Rio Tinto Alcan Regional Economic Development Programme, which aims to provide replacement employment at the Lynemouth site.

When the smelter was closed there last year, more than 500 jobs were lost and businesses that supplied Alcan were put under even more pressure.

For more information about the new Arch programme, call 01670 528462 or visit its website – www.archnorthumberland.co.uk