Carlisle firm wins big contract which is set to create more engineering jobs

February 24th, 2010

A nuclear engineering firm has announced a major expansion and investment in west Cumbria. James Fisher Nuclear Services (JFNS) has awarded Carlisle-based Kier Construction a £1.5 million contract to design and build a test centre in Egremont.

It will be created on the Bridge End Industrial estate, near the company’s current operation at Ennerdale Mill, and is due for completion in August. The construction of the site will create thirty new building and engineering jobs in Cumbria. Supporters hope the expanded operation will play a part in the £2bn Britain’s Energy Coast vision for west Cumbria. The project will include building a 1,000sq metre, 21-metre-high rig hall, including a 20-tonne overhead travelling crane and 600sq metres of office space.

JFNS, which currently employs 80 people in west Cumbria, is part of Barrow-based engineering firm James Fisher and Sons. The expansion will be used to develop JFNS’ operations at the sprawling Sellafield nuclear complex.

Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn hopes the expansion will encourage other firms to invest in west Cumbria. The Energy Coast regeneration team has awarded £300,000 to support the project, through the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

Kier, whose regional headquarters is in Carlisle, will use a number of Cumbrian sub-contractors, including Whitehaven-based Westlakes Engineering and Portscene, which has offices in Carlisle. Regional manager John Edwards was delighted to secure the work. He said: “It is a great opportunity to build on our experience within the nuclear industry and further evidence of our commitment in the area.”

Other Cumbrian companies involved include construction managers West Cumbria Consulting and Cockermouth-based architects Day Cummins.

The 20-year Energy Coast vision aims to put west Cumbria at the forefront of low-carbon and renewable energy production, creating 16,000 employment positions which will include mechanical engineering jobs and design engineering jobs, as well as boosting the area’s economy by £800m-a-year.