A RECRUITMENT drive is under way as a car part firm presses on with expansion plans.
Mecaplast on Peterlee’s North West Industrial Estate is now looking to fill 60 new jobs on its production lines to help it meet the demands of a contract with Nissan.
It will see the factory make black plastic parts to be used on Nissan’s Qashqai models and then its electric Leaf cars when the Wearside plant adds the new vehicles to its workload this spring.
The deal will take Mecaplast into 2016, with four new injection moulding machines to be installed in its new buildings, which will stand where its logistics section had been based until it was moved to another section of the Fiennes Road site to make space for the extra capacity.
While the international firm has not revealed how much it is spending on the investment, the factory turned over £9million last year.
The latest boost comes in addition to the parts it produces for Toyota and General Motors, with a line of service parts putting £1million towards its turnover figure.
Kareen Rawson, human resources manager at the site, said: “There is a buzz around the business. The workers can see what work is going on.
“I think it will be excellent for Peterlee because 80 per cent of the people who work here already are from the surrounding area. They live in Peterlee, Horden, Blackhall, Murton and Seaham, and it’s good for the local economy.
“The fact is the quality is good here and Nissan are happy with what we are doing and work is still ongoing while building is under way, as our customers are the most important thing to us.”
Darren Hammond, 30, from Murton, is a production team leader and has worked for the company for 10 years.
He said: “Going into the recession and the downturn, the situation was bleak. Now with this work, we know we have job security and will have jobs for the next five to 10 years, and hopefully longer.
“It’s fantastic to see the buildings going up and people and investment coming in. It’s good for our futures.”
The building work, by County Durham firm Richardson, should be complete by May, with production to start at the end of August or start of September.
The factory already employs 82 staff, including six apprentices.
The company moved to Peterlee in 1996 and produced parts for Black and Decker and Samsung before moving on to make parts for the automotive industry in 2001.
It also has bases across Europe, Brazil, China and Mexico.
Anyone interested in the production line jobs can email their curriculum vitae to email@example.com.