CHAIRMAN of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone, Stan McIlvenny, updates readers and businesses on developments in the zone...

I AM encouraged that a number of companies in the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone and the wider Pembrokeshire economy are starting to benefit from a Welsh Government programme which is transforming the skills of their staff to help win new contracts and replace work lost as a result of the Murco closure.

The Murco Transform Skills Programme (TSP) was launched in February this year to help supply chain companies affected by the closure of the oil refinery. By delivering a flexible package of support to local employers it aims to safeguard jobs, and help companies diversify and grow their business. Already 15 companies are working with a Workforce Development Advisor to review their business plan and put a programme of training and upskilling in place to address future business needs. One such company which I met with recently is Main Port Engineering (1990) Ltd, based in the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone.

Main Port Director, Jeff Harries, said: “Main Port has recently been supported through the Murco TSP programme, and the benefits have been incredible, from start to finish, the process has allowed us to identify the avenues that were available to us to offer additional training to key personnel within our organisation. By working closely with our Workforce Development Advisor who had been assigned to us by the Welsh Government, and with the guidance and support that was afforded to us we were able to arrange training dates and available courses with very little disruption to our day to day business.

“Without this opportunity and the support of the Murco TSP programme we would not have been in a position to have carried out this training, and to this end we cannot thank the whole team within the Welsh Government that are assigned to this programme for all of their help, assistance and guidance throughout the whole process.”

Employers have until the end of June to apply for funding to retrain staff, expand and diversify the skills within their business. Training must then be completed by the end of February 2016. I encourage businesses to contact the Skills Gateway helpline on 03000 6 03000 for further information on eligibility.

It has been a busy time for Main Port, who this month also announced they are investing £1.6m in a major expansion which they expect to create 100 new jobs. Work is already underway on their new manufacturing facility located in the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone at Warrior Way, Cleddau Reach. The expansion is supported with £650,000 funding from the Welsh Government’s Economic Growth Fund.