East Anglia: Marine East leaders challenge firms to exceed Government growth targets

BUSINESSES across the marine sector in East Anglia have been challenged to exceed Government growth targets for the industry by working in partnership and development the skills needed to realise their full potential.

This call to action came at the annual general meeting of Marine East, an industry group established in 2008 which now supports 250 members throughout the sector.

Marine East chairman, Alan Goodchild said: “During 2011, our industry received a major vote of confidence when the Government partnered with industry leaders to declare an ambition for the sector to grow by 50% over the next eight years.

“With that support and the huge potential from the expanding wind farms around our coasts, the board of Marine East believes that our sector should be looking to exceed that target.”

Marine East’s AGM was held at the premises of leading industry player Trend Marine at Catfield in Norfolk and was attended by representatives from more than 40 organisations from Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk.

Delegates were told that Marine East has established a leading role in bidding to Europe for funding to develop the skills needed to service and take advantage of the opportunities within the rapidly emerging offshore wind industry.

A steep growth in membership was also reported, along with the development of relationships with a broad range of influential associations and a successful programme with local schools.

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Gary Williams, Marine East chief executive, added: “The relationships we are nurturing around the UK will place us at the centre of the national conversation and will help secure some of the benefits that businesses in our region richly deserve.

“The main focus is without doubt on supply chain opportunities which will find new work for businesses and create jobs. Closely aligned to this is the need to ensure we are providing a well trained and skilled workforce to meet the obvious demands which will come from securing this work.”

The chairman and board members were all re-elected at the meeting, including Simon Wakefield of Essex-based recruitment specialist Yellow Admiral in Essex who has also just been elected to the chairmanship of British Marine Federation East; in anticipation of collaboration between the two major trade groups.

A member vote also confirmed the appointment of two new board directors, Keith Dixon of Great Yarmouth College and Peter Edwards of ASAP Supplies of Beccles.