Sunderland firm lands Qatar World Cup contract

Coun Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council (left), and Paul Marshall, MD of Desco.
Coun Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council (left), and Paul Marshall, MD of Desco.
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WEARSIDE engineering specialist Desco has scored a contract to work on one of the Qatar World Cup venues.

The firm is carrying out design work for one of the stadiums being built for the 2022 tournament.

The contract is the latest in a string of sporting jobs Desco has completed in the Middle East, including two Olympic-sized swimming pools and design work on a national football centre for the Qatar team, at the flagship Aspire sports complex, larger than London’s 2012 Olympic Park.

Managing director Paul Marshall said the Doxford International firm had begun chasing work in the Middle East and London as part of its strategy during the recession.

He said: “We had a good reputation and very good business in the North of England and then the recession hit in 2009.

“The impact of the recession was devastating – construction in the UK was very badly hit and there was probably a 50 per cent drop in the workload across the industry in 2009/10, including ourselves.

“There were two routes available to us: downsize or look for work in other geographical areas to safeguard jobs in the North East.

“We were able to recruit and expand the business gradually during a very difficult economic period.” During the downturn, Desco opened offices in Doha in Qatar, London and the Philippines.

A number of staff from the Sunderland head office have transferred to work at the new centres.

Sunderland City Council leader, Coun Paul Watson, said: “Desco is providing high-quality work for people in Sunderland and is a real success story for the city, locally, nationally and internationally.

“A Sunderland base gives companies access to a great skill-set and excellent transport links, plus help and advice from the city council’s business investment team.

“We are proud to have played a role in supporting Desco’s expansion and are delighted by the firm’s growth.”