As Durham County Council looks to promote Durham as a beacon for business, we speak to one man who has chosen the county as the perfect place to expand his company.
Nic Marshall is Chief Executive Officer of customer contact company ResQ, which had reached full capacity at its site in his home city of Hull, where it employs 670 people.
The company considered various sites within a two-hour travelling time of Hull but, as Mr Marshall puts it: “We fell in love with Seaham.”
It is not so long ago that Seaham felt unloved following the shattering decline of the coal industry.
But the seaside town is now seen as a vibrant place to do business and Mr Marshall describes it as “perfect” for the needs of a fast-growing family-owned company like ResQ.
“It was really important to us to have access to the right workforce and the people of Seaham had exactly the kind of attitude we were looking for.
“Attitude is more important to us than skills because, if people have the right attitude, we can give them the skills they need.”
Mr Marshall sees a lot of similarities with the people of Hull. They too have had their dark times, due to the decline of the fishing industry and the docks, but hardship has engrained in them a determination to do well.
“Those hard times in Seaham and in Hull have led to people wanting to better themselves, and that gives them a real pride in the job. Our employees do a cracking job for us and we strive to be a good employer – rewarding them with a good living.”
When ResQ expanded to Seaham’s Spectrum Business Park in the summer, it announced that its objective was to employ 1,200 people by the end of 2018.
That ambition makes it one of the county’s largest inward investments and the jobs tally is already up to 160 and will be around the 200 mark by the end of the year.
The “fantastic positivity” of the workforce was matched by the excellence of the facilities ResQ found at the Spectrum Business Park.
“If you had to draw the perfect site for a call centre, you’d draw what was available to us at Seaham,” says Mr Marshall.
A positive workforce and perfect facilities were underpinned by the openness and flexibility of Durham County Council and Business Durham, the county’s economic development company working on behalf of the council.
Mr Marshall said: “The attitude was ‘What can we do to help you?’ It was so refreshing. Of course, there were barriers, but there was always a will to find ways to overcome them.
“From the people who work for us, to those who helped to bring us to Durham, it has been a positive experience from the start.”
For more visit www.durham.gov.uk/placeoflight