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British Engines News!

Neptune Centre of Excellence brings world first to the North East

A world-leading centre of excellence for hyperbaric testing will be built on the north bank of the River Tyne by Newcastle based engineering group British Engines and Newcastle University, with funding support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s North East Investment Fund.

The Neptune Test Centre will be the first of its kind in the UK and will be the first commercial facility of its kind in the world, with only two other rival test facilities owned by the US and Russian governments.

A planning application is being submitted to Newcastle City Council, and if approved, building will start on the £10m project (including £5m from the North East Investment Fund’s Regional Growth Fund allocation) in early 2015, regenerating the now derelict Spillers Tyne Mill site on Newcastle’s Quayside (acquired by British Engines from the Homes and Communities Agency).

The centre will house four hyperbaric chambers that simulate the environment of subsea depths up to 4,500m. Two of these chambers are currently owned by BEL Valves (one of British Engines’ engineering businesses) and a third by Newcastle University, the major investment will be in a new 4.5 metre long, 2.5 metre diameter chamber simulating the pressure of 4,500m of water – the largest commercially available hyperbaric chamber in the world.

It will not only offer unrivalled research and development opportunities for the university and BEL Valves, but also provide unparalleled testing facilities for other manufacturers of subsea components from across the world.

Richard Dodd, chief operating officer of British Engines, said: “There is a known bottleneck in the industry due to the lack of easily available, large diameter, high pressure hyperbaric facilities, which is only being exacerbated as oil and gas developments move into deeper waters and more high pressure environments. Our business, BEL Valves, has certainly experienced this in trying to gain access to facilities in a timely and cost effective way.

“We already have close links with Newcastle University, collaborating with them on many projects, as well as developing our future engineers. This facility will improve our research and development capability, allowing us to continue developing world-first technology from the north east and further strengthen our links with the university.”

Professor Nick Wright, pro-vice-chancellor for research and innovation at Newcastle University, said: “This new facility will complement the new Neptune National Centre for Subsea and Offshore Engineering being led by the University.”

“This is an incredibly exciting project – bringing together industry and academia to create a unique facility that will significantly enhance research capacity, providing crucial infrastructure for emerging research opportunities. It will also provide a unique training ground for highly skilled graduates, addressing key skill shortages currently faced by UK industry.”

Helen Golightly at the North East LEP, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support this significant development. Investing in new world class and unique facilities such as the hyperbaric testing facilities is essential and firmly puts the North East on the global map. The announcement is a huge boost to the oil and gas sector in particular – the centre will be key to attracting investment from new and existing businesses into the area, helping to deliver more and better jobs.”

The Neptune Test Centre could be complete in mid-2015, with the large deep water chamber being installed mid-2016. As well as the testing facilities the centre will also house dedicated research and development offices for the university, training rooms, conference rooms and visitor facilities such as break out rooms and a canteen.

Alex Lamb, chairman of British Engines, added: “This world-leading project could not have happened without the support of the various local authorities, agencies and the university. British Engines is excited to see the project come to fruition and we’d like to thank everyone involved for having the confidence in a visionary project from the start.”

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Newcatle Falcons Visit

Staff got to meet Newcastle Falcons as part of #BRINGTHENOISE promotion

Quorum Staff were treated to a visit from Newcastle Falcons players at the retail today. Willis Koloofai and Will Welch were joined Newcastle Community Foundation staff promoting the Newcastle vs Gloucester game on Friday, 21st November. The Falcons has already kindly donated two free tickets to the #BRINGTHENOISE game, in a competition ran earlier in the month.

Today staff were invited to meet the falcons stars, sign up for a competition and were given free freshly baked cakes!

Newcastle Falcons Community Project leader, Gavin Beasley said ‘we’ve got a long standing relationship with staff here at Quorum, we ran a successful ‘Summer of Rugby’ programme in June and July and are looking forward to further promotions next year, in what looks set to be a big year for rugby in the North East.

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Kids 1st Nursery

Kids 1st nursery group has been named the highest quality provider of childcare in the UK by Nursery World for the fourth consecutive year

Kids 1st Nurseries has topped the quality league table, which has been compiled with points based on their latest published Ofsted inspection reports and it shows that 66.6% of Kids 1st’s nurseries are outstanding!

Mark McArdle, Managing Director said: “I am so proud that we are at the top of this league table for the fourth year. It was very special to achieve this once, but four times is incredible. This is a great accolade to celebrate in our tenth anniversary year and it is a very important award to us as it is based solely on our Ofsted inspections.

I am a firm believer that we are only as good as our staff and this quality rating is very much testament to the commitment, dedication and qualifications of the staff team, and the team spirit within the group.”

This year Kids 1st is celebrating 10 years in business and this award is the latest in a long line of achievements for the group. Over the years the nurseries have achieved nine outstanding Ofsted reports, have featured in the top ten nurseries in the North East on and in 2009 Kids 1st was named Nursery Chain of the Year by Nursery World.

Kids 1st is a family run business with ten purpose-built nurseries in the North East of England. Outstanding features of the nurseries include nutritious homemade meals, challenging gardens which have been designed to suit the age groups that use them, CCTV and fingerprint security, interactive whiteboards and modern language and dance classes.

Quorum Development Director, Fergus Trim is delighted with the news “here at Quorum we pride ourselves on delivering best in class amenities and facilities to our staff, having an onsite nursery is an important feature within that and we are very proud that Kids 1st has continued to thrive”

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Cofely Service Centre Official Opening

North Tyneside Major, Norma Redfern officially opens the Cofely building.

Cofely’s new shared service centre at Quorum Business Park in north Newcastle was officially opened by Norma Redfearn, the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, on the 13th November 2014. The new office will create up to 200 new jobs in the region. Cofely CEO Wilfred Petrie was also in attendence and commended Quorum on a fabulous working environment.

Cofely, a GDF SUEZ company, is a leading provider of integrated and energy services. The multi-national business, which employs over 15,000 people in the UK with a turnover of £1 billion, has made a strategic decision to move a number of its company functions into a new shared services centre in Newcastle. The new centre will provide customer support and internal services across operations at all of its UK locations.

Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn commented: “We are delighted that Cofely has chosen North Tyneside for its new shared service centre. I have no doubt that the region’s skilled and motivated workforce and the lower cost of operating in the region were key factors in this decision.”

The new 26,000 sq ft office location at Quorum Business Park will see around 50 existing staff relocate from their present locations in the region, together with up to an additional 200 new local jobs created over the next 18 months. The jobs will be across a range of skill sets, covering different levels within the company.

David Hughes, Head of Shared Services at Cofely, added: “The move will put Cofely in a better position to support the increased demands of our enlarged business and enable future growth. The North East offers a great investment opportunity for businesses such as ourselves who are looking to relocate and further their development.”

Cofely has existing links with the region and north Newcastle area, through its partnership with North Tyneside Council, from whom it has outsourced a number of its staff.

Cofely’s David Hughes concluded: “We are very keen to consolidate our presence here and it’s our aim to make Cofely a sustainable and long-term employer in the region for years to come.”