First look inside Siemens' 'mesmerising' Hull turbine factory

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 9 Sep 2016

It is only when you enter the vast building do you realise the huge scale of Hull's new Siemens factory.

Considering its size, the facility has been built remarkably quickly. You feel very small when entering the huge hangars which house the behemoth-like moulds which will create offshore wind turbines.

The site is already about 10 per cent operational and is set to be at full capacity come the spring of next year.

Already, 500 people have been recruited and there will be 1,000 employees when everything is in full swing.

For the newly recruited apprentices, their first glimpse of the new factory on Thursday will stay with them for a long time.

"I was gobsmacked when I first walked into the factory," Poppy Hutchinson, 17, of Brough, said. "I didn't realise this was on quite such a vast scale, it is mesmerising."

Poppy is one of 16 apprentices who have joined Siemens this week in the first programme of its kind in the UK. A total of 400 people applied for the apprenticeships with 60 young people interviewed.

"It is amazing to think I will be a part of this soon and be in the first group of apprentices," Poppy said. "It is just the tip of the iceberg.

"I still have nine months left of college but I can't wait to start work here.

"I don't like to see the environment harmed and it's the way forward to produce more green energy. I'm proud to play a part in that."

Apprentice Poppy Hutchinson.

Charlie D'Arcy, 18, of Hull, is embarking on a higher level apprenticeship and will be working at the factory from this week.

"The factory has more than met my expectations," he said. "It's massive. I cannot wait to start.

"I am very proud to be one of the first workers here and for me this is very much Hull's future. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"It is the best thing to happen in Hull for a long time, with the number of people Siemens is taking on and the investment it's bringing in."

The apprenticeships programme will run for three and a half years providing young people with different engineering qualifications, working at Hull College, the University of Hull and Humberside Engineering Training Association (Heta).

Higher level apprentice Charlie D'Arcy.

Rhy Hebbs, 19, of west Hull, is another apprentice who cannot wait to get going.

"Walking into the factory was breathtaking," he said. "I couldn't imagine it would be as big as this.

"When I left school I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but engineering was an interest of mine.

"I worked at an oil refinery but it didn't sit comfortably with me as I am keen on protecting the environment. But working here is my dream job and it makes me feel so proud."

Siemens has invested £310m to create the offshore wind factory at Alexandra Dock. Construction work is still ongoing for the assembly and logistics section, as well as the provision of a new harbour to ship the turbines out to sea.

Jason Speedy, Siemens' Hull blade factory director, is delighted with the progress so far.

"I am new to Hull and moved my family here two months ago," he said."I am really excited and everything is coming together.

"The building is coming together pretty quickly. This is my dream job and not many people get the chance to have blank sheet of paper and build a factory from scratch."

Mr Speedy is also impressed with the apprentices.

"I have been gobsmacked, not just by the number of people who applied for these roles but by the calibre," he said. "These apprentices provide a pipeline of talent.

"We're now getting on with the job. It's the start of a journey. We've got lots of hurdles to learn and a number of hurdles to jump but everybody is really excited and confident about the challenge ahead."

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