PEMBROKE Dock’s Mainstay Marine was praised by the Welsh Government Economy Secretary for its commitment to local employment and apprenticeship scheme.

Ken Skates AM visited Mainstay Marine ahead of the firm finalising delivery details of a chain ferry for use on the Isle of Wight.

Also known as a floating bridge, the ferry will transport more than 1.5 million pedestrians and 400,000 vehicles per annum.

The contract win safeguarded 30 jobs and helped create 50 new positions.

In addition, 10 per cent of employees are apprentices as part of the firm’s bespoke education programme.

During the visit to Mainstay’s base on Pembroke Dock, Mr Skates congratulated the company on its commitment to sourcing its workforce through apprenticeships and local labour.

From design to delivery, the project will have taken 12 months. The ferry is scheduled for use in late April/early May.

Mr Skates said: “I was very pleased to visit Mainstay and to be able to see first-hand some of the finishing touches being applied to the new Isle of Wight ferry.

“The delivery of the ferry contract is a great testimony to Mainstay’s highly skilled workforce in Pembroke Dock.

“Mainstay are increasingly winning prestigious contracts and are gaining a very favourable reputation within the industry.”

Mainstay Marine’s turnover has increased by a third, from just under £4m to more than £5m, during the last twelve months. It has recently won contract wins to build a £5.8m marine energy device for renewables firm Wave-Tricity and a transfer vessel for Scottish tug operator Targe Towing.

Stewart Graves, managing director of Mainstay Marine, said: “The new ferry has been a fantastic project to work on, with many of our apprentices assisting with its construction.

“We are continuing to grow and a key reason for that is the workforce. We had a very clear goal to secure talent locally to Pembrokeshire and we’re pleased that this is paying dividends.”

Isle of Wight Council executive member for transport and infrastructure, Councillor Ian Ward, said: “Mainstay Marine has manufactured a floating bridge that will become iconic to residents and visitors alike. It has been fascinating watching the construction and development of the project.”