Home   News   Article

Rolls-Royce delivers major pledge on Caithness jobs


By Gordon Calder


Far north MP John Thurso has welcomed Rolls Royce’s long-term commitment to the far north workforce.
Far north MP John Thurso has welcomed Rolls Royce’s long-term commitment to the far north workforce.

THE FAR north economy has been given a huge shot-in-the-arm with confirmation that the operators of the Vulcan nuclear submarine site are lining up work to keep its workforce of 300 employed until 2030.

That was the message delivered by local MP John Thurso after he visited Rolls-Royce headquarters in Derby to discuss the company’s current and future contracts at the Caithness plant.

There was concern when UK junior defence minister Peter Luff last year said the MoD did not see a future for the submarine reactor test facility at Vulcan after 2015, at the end of its current £360 million contract.

But Rolls-Royce yesterday confirmed it was gearing up to have work for its Caithness payroll for another 17 years.

The firm is continuing to support the Royal Navy’s submarine programme but is also getting involved in the civil nuclear industry. The company has an agreement to supply components and engineering services for the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The new facility was given the go-ahead by the UK government earlier this month and will be the UK’s first new nuclear station in a generation.

France’s EDF Energy will lead a consortium, which includes Chinese investors, to build the two reactors which will provide an estimated 3200 megawatts of electricity.

"With our UK submarine programme and our developing civil nuclear sector, we hope to have work at Vulcan going out to 2030," said a company spokeswoman.

John Thurso is delighted Rolls-Royce has work for the next 17 years and described that as "very good news" for the far north. He welcomed the company’s move into civil nuclear power.

"I think we will need something like 10 new nuclear power stations in Britain over the coming years, so Rolls-Royce getting involved in the rollout of the civil nuclear programme is good news," he said.

He is also pleased that the company has taken "a strategic decision" to have an administrative office for its Caithness staff rather then move them to Derby.

"High quality engineers with advanced nuclear experience are in short supply throughout the UK. The wealth of skills and experience of the workforce at Vulcan represents a major asset for Rolls-Royce which the company recognises," said the MP.

"Clearly it makes much better sense to have an administrative office for these 300 in Caithness than to try to move them all to Derby. I am delighted Rolls-Royce has taken this decision in principle and that there is work on the order book for Vulcan stretching out to 2030.

"Once decommissioning has finished at Dounreay, Rolls-Royce will be the single most important employer in the north.

"I feel it is essential to make sure I know what they need and to make clear to the Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise that it is vital we do everything we can to keep such a world-class employer operating in Caithness.

"Our future has to be about hi-tech brain power-based products. Companies like Rolls-Royce, which are leaders in the field, can help UK plc be a world beater in engineering."

John Thurso said Rolls-Royce employed around 300 staff in Caithness and put around £27 million directly into the local economy.

He felt that the securing of work until 2030 and the company’s links with North Highland College and local contractors could encourage young people to take up careers in engineering through apprenticeships or going to university.

Eann Sinclair, the programme manager for the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, said it was "fantastic news" that Rolls-Royce was looking to secure work for its Caithness workforce until 2030.

"That would anchor a huge company up here beyond its current contract and would be great news for the workforce and for the county," he said.

"To have a company of that size and influence here would be a big plus for us. Having an administrative function in the longer term also shows we are perfectly capable of delivering that kind of role here."

Roy Kirk, HIE’s area manager for Caithness and Sutherland, said: "We have an excellent relationship with Rolls Royce and we are happy to continue to work with them to ensure jobs are maintained and possibly grown in the north."

Deirdre Mackay, who chairs the Caithness and Sutherland area committee, also welcomed the news, saying: "This would appear to offer a level of stability for Caithness and north Sutherland into the future and will be warmly welcomed, particularly in these challenging times."

Derrick Milnes, chairman of the Thurso and Wick Trades Council, said: " I don’t honestly know of any new work at Vulcan or any new work in the pipeline, but anything that expands the life of the site would be a real bonus for the community.

"I would also welcome any new initiative Rolls-Royce has in the civil nuclear industry."

THE FAR north economy has been given a huge shot-in-the-arm with confirmation that the operators of the Vulcan nuclear submarine site are lining up work to keep its workforce of 300 employed until 2030.

That was the message delivered by local MP John Thurso after he visited Rolls-Royce headquarters in Derby to discuss the company’s current and future contracts at the Caithness plant.

There was concern when UK junior defence minister Peter Luff last year said the MoD did not see a future for the submarine reactor test facility at Vulcan after 2015, at the end of its current £360 million contract.

But Rolls-Royce yesterday confirmed it was gearing up to have work for its Caithness payroll for another 17 years.

The firm is continuing to support the Royal Navy’s submarine programme but is also getting involved in the civil nuclear industry. The company has an agreement to supply components and engineering services for the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The new facility was given the go-ahead by the UK government earlier this month and will be the UK’s first new nuclear station in a generation.

France’s EDF Energy will lead a consortium, which includes Chinese investors, to build the two reactors which will provide an estimated 3200 megawatts of electricity.

"With our UK submarine programme and our developing civil nuclear sector, we hope to have work at Vulcan going out to 2030," said a company spokeswoman.

John Thurso is delighted Rolls-Royce has work for the next 17 years and described that as "very good news" for the far north. He welcomed the company’s move into civil nuclear power.

"I think we will need something like 10 new nuclear power stations in Britain over the coming years, so Rolls-Royce getting involved in the rollout of the civil nuclear programme is good news," he said.

He is also pleased that the company has taken "a strategic decision" to have an administrative office for its Caithness staff rather then move them to Derby.

"High quality engineers with advanced nuclear experience are in short supply throughout the UK. The wealth of skills and experience of the workforce at Vulcan represents a major asset for Rolls-Royce which the company recognises," said the MP.

"Clearly it makes much better sense to have an administrative office for these 300 in Caithness than to try to move them all to Derby. I am delighted Rolls-Royce has taken this decision in principle and that there is work on the order book for Vulcan stretching out to 2030.

"Once decommissioning has finished at Dounreay, Rolls-Royce will be the single most important employer in the north.

"I feel it is essential to make sure I know what they need and to make clear to the Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise that it is vital we do everything we can to keep such a world-class employer operating in Caithness.

"Our future has to be about hi-tech brain power-based products. Companies like Rolls-Royce, which are leaders in the field, can help UK plc be a world beater in engineering."

John Thurso said Rolls-Royce employed around 300 staff in Caithness and put around £27 million directly into the local economy.

He felt that the securing of work until 2030 and the company’s links with North Highland College and local contractors could encourage young people to take up careers in engineering through apprenticeships or going to university.

Eann Sinclair, the programme manager for the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, said it was "fantastic news" that Rolls-Royce was looking to secure work for its Caithness workforce until 2030.

"That would anchor a huge company up here beyond its current contract and would be great news for the workforce and for the county," he said.

"To have a company of that size and influence here would be a big plus for us. Having an administrative function in the longer term also shows we are perfectly capable of delivering that kind of role here."

Roy Kirk, HIE’s area manager for Caithness and Sutherland, said: "We have an excellent relationship with Rolls Royce and we are happy to continue to work with them to ensure jobs are maintained and possibly grown in the north."

Deirdre Mackay, who chairs the Caithness and Sutherland area committee, also welcomed the news, saying: "This would appear to offer a level of stability for Caithness and north Sutherland into the future and will be warmly welcomed, particularly in these challenging times."

Derrick Milnes, chairman of the Thurso and Wick Trades Council, said: " I don’t honestly know of any new work at Vulcan or any new work in the pipeline, but anything that expands the life of the site would be a real bonus for the community.

"I would also welcome any new initiative Rolls-Royce has in the civil nuclear industry."



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More