MORE than 250 new jobs are to be created in West Lothian.
Dutch Food Company VION is to create a new training Centre of Excellence at its Halls plant in Broxburn, which will also safeguard 1000 existing positions.
The project has received almost £2million in funding from the Scottish government.
The news was welcomed by First Minister Alex Salmond, who announced the Centre of Excellence in the Chamber at Parliament earlier today (tues).
He said: “Securing 1250 jobs through the new Centre of Excellence at Halls in Broxburn is fantastic news. VION’s investment in their new training centre – supported by Training Plus funds of £1.495 million from Scottish Enterprise and up to £500,000 from Skills Development Scotland – is a major vote of confidence in the Scottish workforce and Scotland’s economic future.
“I know that the West Lothian site was up against competition from elsewhere and securing the contract for the Centre of Excellence is also a major vote of confidence in Scottish training and learning.”
He added: “It means 1000 people already working at the Halls processing plant have their jobs safeguarded, there will be 250 new jobs created and up to 100 of these new positions will be modern apprenticeships.
“This training aspect is absolutely critical. John Swinney announced in yesterday’s spending review that we will deliver 125,000 modern apprenticeships over the next five years and to see this kind of commitment in the private sector is exactly the kind of development we need.
“Job creation in the private sector is critical, particularly now. The latest figures show that employment increased by 23,000 in Scotland over the three months to July 2011, at a time when it fell by 69,000 across the UK as a whole. The new jobs and safeguarded positions are fantastic news for West Lothian and for Scotland as a whole.”
Commenting on the announcement, VION UK Chief Executive Ton Christiaanse said: “People are at the heart of our business and this announcement underlines our commitment to the development of our skills base.
“Partnerships are the basis for business success and we especially value the support and expertise of Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland.
“This investment not only demonstrates our confidence in the Hall’s site but also in the Scottish pig farming sector who are key partner suppliers to our business.”
Scottish Development International chief executive Anne MacColl said: “We have been working with VION for a number of years to support the company’s growth and development in Scotland, and it is with great enthusiasm that we welcome today’s announcement regarding the new Centre of Excellence.
“This investment demonstrates the ongoing confidence that international corporations continue to have in Scotland, and I’m pleased to say that this development has been made possible thanks to Training Plus funding from Scottish Enterprise, plus ongoing strategic and tactical support from Scottish Development International.
“The whole project has been a real collaborative effort involving our colleagues at Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Government, and we will continue to work with the company on its ambitious growth plans for Scotland.”