Great Yarmouth firm Alicat Workboats to create 30 new jobs in the town following new shipbuilding deal

Great Yarmouth shipbuilding company Alicat Workboats has created 30 new jobs in the town after signing a contract with an Irish marine company.

Arklow Marine will initially build two aluminium work boats – worth �1.7m each – for Alicat as orders for the Norfolk firm's boats are coming in faster than they can be built.

The catamarans serve to take workers out to offshore wind farm developments, and demand for the crew transfer boats has increased in line with the growing renewables sector.

Alicat's main site, in Southtown Road, continues to produce around eight of these work boats per year, but the firm has not been able to recruit enough highly skilled craftsmen to scale up boat assembly on site.

Rather than disappoint customers, Alicat and its subcontracted firms in Great Yarmouth will scale up production of components and Arklow Marine will assemble the extra vessels under contract.

Alicat increased its workforce from 45 to 50 after signing the contract, and a further 25 jobs have been created at its Yarmouth subcontractors – which produce electronics, navigation equipment, internal mouldings and cabinets for the boats.

Nigel Darling, director of Alicat Workboats, said: 'The demand for the boats is greater than we could supply and this new contract has secured our future as it means we can keep our customers happy.

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'We had the capital and infrastructure but not enough labour in Yarmouth.'

He added Alicat was seeking to recruit further highly skilled craftsmen to work at its Great Yarmouth site, where its head office is based.

The firm has taken on five apprentices from Great Yarmouth College and Lowestoft College, and will train them to the industry standard so production capacity can increase in Great Yarmouth.

Alicat bosses say they are pleased with the quality of Arklow Marine's work and will seek to extend their contract this spring, as they continue to develop with the offshore industry.

'Our vision going forward is to increase the range of boats we build in terms of size,' said Mr Darling. 'We hope to increase the capacity of our Yarmouth yard to build more boats, which will mean more jobs.

'We will also be looking for other yards to partner us as the wind farm sector grows.'

He predicts boats which can transport more offshore workers will be needed in the future as wind farm developments are built further from the coast.

Among the Great Yarmouth firms subcontracted by Alicat and benefiting from the 25 new jobs are: Goodchild Marine, which produces glass fibre mouldings and cabinet work; E-Tech which specialises in electrical installations; and Charity and Taylor, which produces electronics and navigational equipment.

Alicat Workboats was established in May 2009 and operates from the well-established Richards Dry Dock ship construction and repair yard in Great Yarmouth.

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