Trade representative body Mersey Maritime has praised the power of partnership as an agreement was signed at its Birkenhead headquarters yesterday (14 June) to develop a brand new maritime and offshore training facility in the UK’s North West.
Investment for the major new training facility was officially agreed this week, following months of discussions in which Mersey Maritime played a vital role.
The cluster organisation for the maritime sector in the North West has been instrumental in initiating discussions and lining up potential partners from across the region’s public and private sectors to secure the business connections and support needed to bring Glasgow-based Stream Marine Training to Merseyside.
Stream Marine confirmed their commitment to establishing a major maritime and offshore training centre in Wirral by signing an agreement with Wirral Council that will see them invest up to £1.5m in new facilities at Tower Quays and a new fire training ground along Duke Street, Birkenhead. The investment could also have a significant broader economic impact, with the potential of up to 5,000 additional bed nights being booked in Wirral each year.
Using the Wirral Waters Investment Fund, Wirral Council has put together a compelling package of support as part of a strategy to strengthen the Maritime and low carbon sectors on the Wirral peninsula. The opening of the new facility within the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone is set to create up to 25 new jobs.
Chris Shirling-Rooke, Chief Executive Officer of Mersey Maritime, said: “The signing of the agreement this week between Stream Marine Training and Wirral Council is the culmination of many months of hard work behind the scenes. Mersey Maritime initiated this and has been at the heart of the discussions during that time as part of our agenda to drive forward inward investment and help create the right conditions for business growth.
“Stream Marine’s decision to set up its first base outside of Scotland in Wirral is a mark of confidence in the region and the opportunities available to ambitious business owners looking to expand. This type of investment is perfectly aligned with Mersey Maritime’s vision for the cluster, promoting growth, innovation and new jobs.”
The support Mersey Maritime has provided to Stream Marine Training has been facilitated through its business support programme New Markets 2 (NM2). The cluster organisation is one of 11 organisations in the Liverpool city region delivering support to fast-growth small and medium-sized businesses via the NM2 project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and is the first to successfully attract inward investment as a result of the support it has delivered to SMT.
George Davies, Deputy Leader of Wirral Council, said: “It was only Monday this week when we announced our ambition to create thousands of jobs in Wirral through a £1 billion regeneration programme. It’s fantastic that, just a few days later, we are already talking about new businesses opening their doors in the borough – it’s a sign of confidence in Wirral, and it’s great news for residents.
“Maritime businesses such as Stream Marine Training are exactly the type of company we are trying to attract to Wirral – fast growing, ambitious and able to invest in the area and create jobs and I am delighted to be able to welcome SMT to Wirral. On behalf of the council I pledge to do all we can to continue to support them.’
The nearest offshore facility currently is in Lancashire and is heavily oversubscribed, so the catchment potential for Stream Marine Training is considerable. Chief executive Martin White is confident there is a real demand that can be served from the Liverpool area.
He said: “The range of support available to maritime businesses moving to the Liverpool city region is outstanding. We have been welcomed with open arms and are excited to be setting up our new operation here in Wirral. I’m immensely grateful to Wirral Council, Mersey Maritime and Peel Land & Property for their work in getting us to this point and look forward to being part of this regional success story.”
Paula Basnett, CEO at Wirral Chamber said: “It is great news, but just the start of our journey with SMT. They do already have relationships with major companies who have committed to using Wirral facilities when they open. We are now working closely with them to ensure they are fully aware of the quality of our other local suppliers as they operationalise.”
Image shows: Cllr George Davies, Deputy Leader, Wirral Council (left) with Stream Marine CEO Martin White