Government minister hails success of Nepic
L to R: Dr Ashok Kumar MP, Alan Johnson, Health Minister and Nepic chief executive Stan Higgins
The work of the North-East Process Industries Cluster (Nepic) has been praised by a Government minister.
Alan Johnson, who launched Nepic in 2005 during his tenure as Trade and Industry Secretary, praised its contribution as having “exceeded all expectations”.
Since its inception three years ago, Nepic, which is based at the Wilton Centre, has generated more than £100m of gross value added (GVA) to the regional economy.
The organisation, which represents more than 500 chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and support companies across the region, has also helped create or protect more than 1,500 jobs and helped to establish ten new businesses.
On a visit to Middlesbrough, Mr Johnson, now Health Minister, said: “When I launched the scheme back in 2005, all of us had high hopes that the cluster would generate a significant level of GVA for the region.
“Without doubt, Nepic has exceeded those expectations. Let us all hope this will be an indication of continued success.”
The process industry on Teesside has grown since Nepic’s creation, and is expected to play a major role in increasing the value of the UK process industry from £9bn to £15bn in five years.
Teesside has also been chosen as home for the National Skills Academy for Process Industries, which will help to plug the skills gap in the sector.
Stan Higgins, chief executive of Nepic, said: “Due to their heavy workload, it is always difficult to get access to ministers of state. However, three years ago, Alan Johnson gave us his valuable time to raise the profile of our work.
“With his help, we attracted about 200 people to our launch event in London and this gave the cluster the kick-start it needed to get it off the ground.”
Dr Ashok Kumar, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: “The North-East, and Teesside in particular, is at the leading edge in terms of the UK’s process industry technology and development, and the work of Nepic has been a key part in building this capability.”