Yarmouth energy firm’s 50 jobs-drive bucking industry trend

The Venko team: Left to Right, Jason Grey Operational Support Manager, Steve Brierley Project Manage

The Venko team: Left to Right, Jason Grey Operational Support Manager, Steve Brierley Project Manager, Tom Herok Director Offshore, Martin Collins Operations Co-ordinator, Becky Margitson HSEQ Advisor, Olaf Smale QA QC Manager, James McLaurin QA QC Engineer. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

An energy industry services firm is set to more than double its workforce in Great Yarmouth after landing two contracts together worth nearly £10m.

Dutch firm Venko Offshore opened its base on South Denes less than two years ago with one employee - and predicts that by early July it will have 100 staff working there.

The company, which specialises in the maintenance of assets such as gas platforms and wind turbines, won a two-year North Sea contract in January and that has now been followed by another nine-month contract offshore.

Jason Grey, the company's operational support manager, said: 'They are both to provide fabric maintenance services on gas platforms.

'The first contract will have additional options beyond the two years; the latest one is for a shorter, high intensity campaign with a lot of guys out there for a short space of time.'

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He described the double contract success as 'positive news at a difficult economic time for the industry'.

After starting out in Yarmouth with just Mr Grey, the workforce of the firm - which offers such services as the application of industrial coatings, surface preparation, fireproofing, scaffolding and rope access - has crept up to more than 40.

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'There is a lot of negativity at the moment but we have really benefited from being here in the enterprise zone,' said Mr Grey.

'The reduced business rates it brings gives us a competitive advantage and we can pass on those cost savings to the customer.'

He said there would be a focus on local recruitment as they looked to add at least 50 staff to their workforce, ranging from offshore maintenance workers and paint blasters to rope access technicians and scaffolders.

He said it was a competitive sector and put down their success to quality of service and the constant search for innovation.

He said: 'We are currently looking for grants to develop our services, for example to play a bigger role in the offshore wind industry.'

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: 'It's great to see a company at the heart of the oil and gas sector continuing to grow, despite wider pressures in the industry.

'Clearly being based in the enterprise zone has real business benefits and is an increasingly attractive proposition for companies to be based there – 75pc of businesses who have moved on to the zone are energy-related.'

Blob. The enterprise zone covers six sites – two in Yarmouth at South Denes and Beacon Park and four in the Lowestoft area at Mobbs Way, Riverside Road, South Lowestoft Industrial Estate, and Ellough.

There are now 29 businesses located across the enterprise zone employing more than 850 people. This has attracted an additional £29m of private sector investment.

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