MORE than 300 jobs and apprenticeship opportunities are to be created at a new manufacturing centre, thanks to a multi-million-pound public-private investment partnership with South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).
Alpha Solway in Annan, part of Globus Group, will this month begin constructing the state-of-the-art factory after securing £4.8m from SOSE.
It will have an overall build cost of £12m, part of Alpha Solway’s total investment in Dumfries and Galloway of more than £33m.
Globus is to more than match the SOSE funds in a ground-breaking collaboration, designed to boost the economy, cement the long-term future of manufacturing in the region and support communities.
The first phase of development on the 15-acre site, based at Gilnockie Business Park, Dumfries is scheduled to be fully operational by the summer.
It will play a key part in Alpha Solway’s ongoing major contribution to protecting NHS workers tackling COVID-9.
Last summer the company won a contract with the Scottish government to ensure frontline NHS staff had high-quality PPE during the pandemic and beyond.
The development will make the company the biggest British PPE manufacturer and one of the largest private sector employers in southern Scotland.
A second phase to build another world-class PPE plant in Annan will break ground later this year.
The public-private partnership investment in the two new centres represents a vote of confidence in the Scottish economy and recognition of the enduring value and appeal of Made in the UK products for healthcare and industry sectors internationally.
At full capacity, the business will produce one billion medical masks and 300m FFP respirators a year.
Steven Binnie, Alpha Solway director, said: “We’re thrilled and honoured to have been awarded this funding by SOSE.
“We are committed to the Scottish economy and South of Scotland communities so we have much in common with SOSE.
“It takes real vision and innovative thinking on all sides to develop this kind of public-private partnership which will deliver real, long-term benefits to the region, NHS workers and others, who rely on our products.
“Alpha Solway has the expertise, resilience and reliability in respiratory PPE and SOSE has helped to drive forward our expansion plans to create the fast solutions needed by the NHS healthcare market.”
This is SOSE’s largest grant to date and Professor Russel Griggs, SOSE chairman, said: “This significant support package shows our commitment to secure the long-term future of manufacturing in the South of Scotland.
“Our vision is to establish the area as a centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.”
“The establishment of the new manufacturing hub and a centre of excellence for PPE will not only create and sustain many new jobs in the region, but we hope will inspire the South of Scotland to think bigger and more innovatively.
“Ultimately, we hope this investment will secure a Scottish-owned base to manufacture PPE for Scotland, UK and international markets.”
The news of the expansion has also been welcomed by the Scottish Government. In addition to the creation of jobs and regional economic boost.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is tremendous news for the south of Scotland economy, creating 300 new jobs and underlining the important role that the manufacture of vital protective equipment can play in our recovery.
“The Scottish Government acted quickly and decisively to expand and strengthen PPE supplies in a globally challenging market. Excluding the supply of gloves, over 90% of PPE supplied to NHS Scotland is now manufactured in Scotland. This will help to protect us from any global supply issues and ensure our frontline staff continue to have the protection they need.
“It also demonstrates what can be achieved when the public and private sectors collaborate to tackle the many challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rob Davidson, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee said: “This is great news for our region and I welcome this significant funding announcement for our area. Alpha Solway have already proved themselves to be committed and valued local employers so I am happy that they will be able to build on their already excellent track record.
The fact that these new jobs will be in manufacturing PPE equipment adds to the good news both in the fight against COVID and our collective efforts to restart and rebuild the local economy. Congratulations to Alpha Solway and good luck for their future endeavours.”