International shipbuilding and marine engineering business, Harland & Wolff, has announced that it has reached 1,000 employees across the company, as it continues to actively recruit new staff to meet demand at its UK fabrication sites in Appledore, Arnish, Belfast and Methil, and commercial footprint in Aberdeen, London and Southampton.

The milestone was passed this week and comes at the end of a significant year for the business, a year in which it was awarded, as part of the Team Resolute consortium with Navantia UK and BMT, a contract to build three Fleet Solid Support (FSS) vessels. That contract alone has unlocked £77m of public and private investment for the company and is expected to create 1,200 jobs across Harland & Wolff’s Belfast and Appledore shipyards where the new vessels will take shape.

Harland & Wolff’s multi-market, multi-service strategy is driving the revitalisation of the company’s four delivery centres. At Appledore in North Devon, headcount is approaching 200 from a starting point of just one when the site was acquired in 2021. Opportunities in defence and commercial are unpinning the recruitment drive, together with an ambition for the site to become a centre of excellence for aluminium boat building in the UK.

Harland & Wolff’s Belfast shipyard, one of Europe’s largest heavy engineering facilities, is racing towards 500 personnel. Preparations for FSS are well advanced and current projects include the fabrication of barges and the recently announced SeaRose floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) refit contract. The vessel arrives in Belfast in February 2024.

Barges are also under construction at the company’s Methil heavy fabrication facility situated on the north bank of the Firth of Forth estuary. With easy access to the North Sea and one of the largest final assembly halls in Europe, the growing 200-strong Methil team are well placed to exploit opportunities in the renewables and offshore energy sectors.

Harland & Wolff’s 38-hectare Arnish yard on the Isle of Lewis is equally well positioned geographically to undertake projects for the energy sector, including nuclear. Set up for heavy fabrication, the team of around 100 can support clients with specialist equipment and techniques, not available elsewhere in the UK. In 2023, Harland & Wolff Arnish was awarded, and has subsequently delivered, its largest contract to date by a Greenland-based mining company.

Harland & Wolff recognises that the prosperity of the communities it operates in is closely linked to the company’s success and it strives to create highly skilled, long-term and well-paid jobs. The company also acknowledges the increasing importance of investing in graduates and apprentices to provide the UK the advanced shipbuilding skills-base it needs. It now has more than 140 apprentices located across the company’s four yards; a number that is growing rapidly as workloads accelerate. Applications for its 2024 apprentice programme have just opened.

Andrew Jackson, Harland & Wolff Human Resources Director, said:

“We are delighted to celebrate hitting the milestone of 1,000 employees. This is a significant moment for our company as we look to build-upon the progress we have made over the last few years and prepare to deliver key maritime and specialist engineering programmes in line with the UK government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy refresh.

“The £77m investment we’ve received as part of Team Resolute has of course been a key catalyst in our recruitment drive and desire to transform Harland & Wolff’s yards into some of the most advanced in the world. We are welcoming hundreds of new colleagues right across the business, and in all disciplines, talent that will ensure deep and enduring links with the communities with which we work.”

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