Alpha Solway - SOSE investment partnership triggers PPE jobs boost
Leading Scottish PPE firm Alpha Solway is set to create over 300 jobs and apprenticeship opportunities at a new manufacturing centre thanks to a unique multi-million-pound public-private investment partnership with South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).
The Annan-based company, part of Globus Group, will this month [March] begin construction on the state-of-the-art facility after securing a £4.8m funding support from SOSE. The new factory will have an overall build cost of £12 million part of Alpha Solway’s total investment into the Dumfries and Galloway region of more than £33 million.
Globus, which has 25 years of heritage and expertise in PPE, is to more than match the SOSE funds in a ground-breaking collaboration designed to boost the Scottish economy, cement the long-term future of manufacturing in the region and support the local community.
The first phase of development on the 15-acre site, based at Gilnockie Business Park, Dumfries is scheduled to be fully operational by the summer. It will play a key part in Alpha Solway’s ongoing major contribution to protecting NHS workers tackling Covid 19. Last summer the company won a contract with the Scottish Government to ensure frontline NHS staff have high quality PPE throughout the pandemic and beyond.
The development will see the creation of more than 300 new jobs, bringing the total recruited by Globus, since last autumn, to over 1,000 by the end of 2021, making the company the biggest British PPE manufacturer and one of the largest private sector employers in the South of Scotland region.
A second phase to build another world-class PPE plant in Annan will break ground later this year. The public-private partnership investment in the two new facilities represents a vote of confidence in the Scottish economy and recognition of the enduring value and appeal of ‘Made in the UK’ products for healthcare and industry sectors internationally.
Globus Group committed to 75% UK manufacturing last year amid the disruption to the global PPE supply chain caused by Coronavirus. Two facilities were launched by the business in 2020 in Dumfries, Scotland, and Warrington, North West England.
At full capacity, the business will produce one billion medical masks and 300 million FFP respirators per annum.
Alpha Solway Director Steven Binnie said: “We’re thrilled and honoured to have been awarded this funding by the South of Scotland Enterprise.
“We are totally committed to the Scottish economy and the South of Scotland communities, so our aims have so much in common with SOSE. It takes real vision and innovative thinking on all sides to develop this kind of public-private partnership which will deliver real long-term benefits for the region and for the NHS workers and others who rely on our products.
“The site will create around 300 sustainable new jobs for the community, driving the local economy forward. The announcement of the new facility has cemented our long-term commitment to having 75% of our products made in the UK – as quickly as we could. Alpha Solway has the expertise, resilience and reliability in respiratory PPE and SOSE has helped to drive forward our expansion plans to create the fast solutions required by the NHS healthcare market.”
South of Scotland Enterprise was launched on 1 April 2020 as the new economic and community development agency for Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders. It was established by the Scottish Government in recognition of the unique circumstances of the South of Scotland.
SOSE’s mission is to drive inclusive growth, increase competitiveness and tackle inequality within the region.
It will work with people and businesses in communities right across the South of Scotland to grow its economy by providing investment, expertise and mentoring, and aims to inspire the region to think bigger, and unlock significant opportunities for all.
Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of SOSE said: “I am delighted we have supported Alpha Solway with this £4.8m financial investment, our largest grant to date.
“This significant support package demonstrates our commitment to secure the long-term future of manufacturing in the South of Scotland.
“Our vision is to establish the South of Scotland as a centre of opportunity, innovation and growth.
“The establishment of the new manufacturing hub and a centre of excellence for PPE will not only create and sustain many new jobs in the region, but we hope will inspire the South of Scotland to think bigger and more innovatively.
“Ultimately, we hope this investment will secure a Scottish-owned base to manufacture PPE for Scotland, UK and international markets.”
The news of the expansion has also been welcomed by the Scottish Government. In addition to the creation of jobs and regional economic boost.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: "This is tremendous news for the south of Scotland economy, creating 300 new jobs and underlining the important role that the manufacture of vital protective equipment can play in our recovery.
"The Scottish Government acted quickly and decisively to expand and strengthen PPE supplies in a globally challenging market. Excluding the supply of gloves, over 90% of PPE supplied to NHS Scotland is now manufactured in Scotland. This will help to protect us from any global supply issues and ensure our frontline staff continue to have the protection they need.
“It also demonstrates what can be achieved when the public and private sectors collaborate to tackle the many challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic."
Rob Davidson, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee said: “This is great news for our region and I welcome this significant funding announcement for our area. Alpha Solway have already proved themselves to be committed and valued local employers so I am happy that they will be able to build on their already excellent track record.
The fact that these new jobs will be in manufacturing PPE equipment adds to the good news both in the fight against COVID and our collective efforts to restart and rebuild the local economy. Congratulations to Alpha Solway and good luck for their future endeavours.”