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The Latest Blog from the Chairman

15/08/16
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I found it incredible that the Brexit mafia headed by Theresa did a back summersault and put Hinkley on hold. I am sure the French and Chinese are livid. In my opinion rightly so. Peeing off the Chinese is mind numbing after The Brexit mafia lied their way into dumping our biggest trading partner the EU. China is growing and trading with China is the future.

Britain needs clean energy and loads of it, as ageing fossil fuel powered stations cannot meet the pollution emissions criteria.

Nuclear produces clean energy and lots of it. By my reckoning, that’s nearly nine years – NINE – since Gordon Brown’s government gave the go ahead to build a whole swathe of new nuclear power plants, and six since the name Hinkley Point first became synonymous with the plans. In that time, we’ve gone through three prime ministers, two first ministers, five energy secretaries and the creation and abolition of the energy department set up to help guide the project. That might seem like a bureaucrat’s dream, but it’s an industrialist’s nightmare.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the whole deal seemed signed, sealed and delivered after the board of the French energy giant EDF voted to give the project the green light. But then the UK Government – who have championed the project for nearly a decade and were expected to use the project as a beacon of light that Britain was open for business after the EU referendum – performed an about-turn. All of a sudden, they decided that the whole shebang was on hold until the autumn, which in politics-speak is a dangerous sign that all is not well.

Of course, it hasn’t taken long for the blame game to start. How much are we paying the French and Chinese for building and running the thing? Is the project secure? Are we paying too much? Could we get a better deal elsewhere? For my part, I welcome any and all investment in our country’s energy supply, whether that’s new nuclear, gas, wind, whatever. And the French especially, have a proven track record when it comes to building and supporting new nuclear investments.

Safe, secure and affordable energy supplies have never been more important and with the leaves on the trees about to start turning, it won’t be too long before we hear the perennial winter warnings of blackouts and energy shortages. It seems fanciful, but in recent years, we’ve come closer to this scenario than you might ever imagine (or know).

For my part, I (and by that I mean Orion) do have a vested interest in the success of our country’s nuclear business. In the engineering and industry game, we’ve been well placed over the last 14 years to support our friends and partners in the nuclear industry by sourcing the top talent needed to make a success of major infrastructure projects.

We’ve been delivering highly skilled, exportable British talent, year on year, eager and able to share its knowledge and expertise far and wide. Talent we’ll all lose – in a heartbeat – if the pen pushers dither over making a final decision on Hinkley and others. Yes, it could also impact on me. We’ve taken a conscious business decision to ensure that we’ve been well placed to support the Hinkley project. Last year, for example, we opened a Bristol office, headed up by Alex Bethune, to scour the region, country and beyond for the skills and people power essential to the success of the project. Not only that, but we’ve cast the net further afield – as we have in oil and gas – to make sure we capitalise on the growing momentum in the industry. Momentum – it seemed – that extended even closer to home until a few short days ago.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Orion recently agreed to an exclusive link with Moray headquartered fabrication and manufacturing business Forsyth’s to supply labour to their recently acquired fabrication yard in Caithness as well as a number of other projects. We’ve just started recruiting for a range of positions including General Manager and Workshop Foreman, along with multiple positions in electrical project engineering, pipefitting, plating and coded welding (TIG and MIG).

It’s great that Orion – a local business – has been able to link up with another well-known local business from Rothes in Forsyth’s, to provide the business with top talent. More importantly, it’s a fantastic jobs boost for the local economy, brought about after Rosyth’s stepped into take over the Caithness fabrication yard after the previous owners – Enterprise Engineering Service Limited (EESL) went into administration.

If you think you’ve got the skills and the experience to be part of this, then get in touch with our Inverness office, FGcampaign@orioneng.com
get in touch with our Inverness office, FGcampaign@orioneng.com
 
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