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Oil and gas firm in Wick jobs boost

Caithness Courier

Forty jobs are due to be created in Wick by an Aberdeen-based company.

Process Safety Solutions (PSS), an engineering company which services the oil and gas industry, has moved into Wick Business Park.

The team of five is to be joined by five more in the next six months with the payroll expected to rise to between 30 and 40 within two years.

The PSS office was officially opened yesterday morning by Scottish finance secretary John Swinney, who was in the north for a meeting of the Cabinet and other engagements.

The move was yesterday described as "great news" by Eann Sinclair, programme manager for the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership.

"It shows we can attract companies from Aberdeen with our lower cost base, the skills we have here and the availability of land. This is great news for the county.

"PSS is the first company to move here from Aberdeen and I hope the first of many. I would hope there could be further good news coming our way over the summer regarding this kind of development," added Mr Sinclair.

Trudy Morris, chief executive of the Caithness Chamber of Commerce, is also delighted to see PSS coming to the north.

She said: "This is excellent news for Wick and Caithness as a whole. PSS is a well-established company in the oil and gas sector and it is great that it has seen Wick as an ideal base for its next stage of expansion."

"The company is going to invest in both apprenticeships and graduates, training the next generation, which is much needed.

"It will be well placed to help service the planned offshore wind farms in the Moray Firth and marine energy in the Pentland Firth." Ms Morris added: "Credit must also go to Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) who are working hard to attract Aberdeen-based businesses here.

"It is good to see Wick Business Park finally being utilised as it is an ideal location right next to the airport. We hope this will encourage others to follow suit and capitalise on the opportunities as this area has so much to offer."

PSS founder David Green, who comes from Wick, said: "We saw great potential in using the skills base in the area. More and more companies in Aberdeen are out-sourcing engineering work, until now this has largely been to India and England.

"We would like to reverse this trend and fully realise the potential within Scotland's engineering community.

"Access to the local skill base developed over the last 50 years at Dounreay was one of the main drivers to the new office location.

"When you couple that with the fact that I am originally from Wick and know the area and people very well, the reasons are quite compelling," he said.

Mr Green said the location will help PSS diversify into wave, tidal and wind energy.

"Our Wick office is well placed to provide engineering services and long-term maintenance and support for all renewable projects in the north," he added.

HIE has provided £194,000 to assist PSS' move to the new premises at Wick Business Park.

Roy Kirk, HIE's area manager for Caithness and Sutherland, said: "In deciding to open this new office in the county, the company is taking advantage of a skilled workforce and our excellent connectivity with Aberdeen, which can be reached in only 25 minutes by air.

"Our funding will assist the company to recruit 30-40 staff, many of whom currently undertake the significant commute to Aberdeen, into highly paid, skilled jobs which will support the local Caithness economy."

Opening the premises yesterday, Mr Swinney said the company's partnership with Siemens and the North Highland College UHI will develop its skills base and create opportunities for advanced apprenticeships.

"This builds on the company's successful graduate programme and I am sure it will be a great asset as PSS looks to diversify and expand," he said.