Siemens boss' pride over transformation of Hull dock after £310m investment

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 1 May 2019

The boss of Siemens UK has spoken of his “huge pride” at the company’s investment in Hull and transformation of Alexandra Dock.

As Team Humber Marine Alliance's annual conference prepares to open today, Wednesday, May 1, Juergen Maier, chief executive was in the city, and recalled the “industrial wasteland” which greeted him when he first visited the site now home to Siemens Gamesa’s blade factory.

Siemens invested £160m in the site - combined with an extra £150m from Associated British Ports - to open the state-of-the-art facility in 2016.

Speaking to pupils at Hull’s Ron Dearing UTC, Mr Maier said young people in the city now have the chance to be at the forefront of what is known as “the fourth industrial revolution.”

He said of the transformation of Alexandra Dock: “To have that vision five years ago and come back today and walk around that factory creates a feeling of huge pride.

“It’s been brilliant to have been a part of it.”

Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier (centre) at Hull's Ron Dearing UTC (Karl Andre Photography)

Mr Maier was joined at Ron Dearing UTC by former Siemens UK chief executive and chairman Alan Wood and Siemens Mobility’s UK director of localisation, Finbarr Dowling, who played a major part in the blade facility being established.

His trip to Hull also included a tour around the Siemens Gamesa facility, which is currently manufacturing blades for the Hornsea Project One wind farm, where all foundations are now installed, as well as a site visit in Goole, where Siemens plans to build a new £200m rail factory.

Read more: Siemens submits first plans for £200m train factory creating 700 jobs in Goole

Mr Maier, who donned a Hull City scarf for the sod cutting, was also asked by pupils whether a technology-driven industrial revolution would lead to an overall loss of jobs across the country.

Having recently led an independent review of how UK manufacturing could change, said: “Our conclusion in the Made Smarter report was that, without question, it will increase employment in the UK if we get it right.

“That means we need to make sure that existing manufacturing and engineering applies technologies such as virtual reality and additive manufacturing a faster pace.

“That’s an opportunity for people like you with the skills you gain here to help companies get better at adopting these technologies, in order to become more productive, efficient and competitive. Efficiency and competitiveness will ultimately create more employment.”

Siemens has hit the headlines on countless occasions in recent years.

From Siemens Gamesa’s blade factory in Hull, to the company’s planned facility in Goole which would create 700 new jobs, the business has become a key player and voice in the Humber.

Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier at Hull's Ron Dearing UTC (Karl Andre Photography)

Mr Maier said Siemens’ investment in the city was one of the best projects he had been involved in.

He recalled first visiting the Alexandra Dock site five years ago when it was an “industrial wasteland."

Read more: Siemens boss: UK becoming 'a laughing stock' amid Brexit turmoil

Now it has become “a centre of world competence” in wind turbine manufacturing, assembly and logistics.

Mr Maier also stressed the need for more women in both manufacturing and engineering.

Alexandra Dock before the Siemens Gamesa facility

He said: “At Siemens we’re a little bit better than the national average. About 14 per cent of our engineering staff are women, compared to around nine per cent nationally.

“But we are starting to see the trend changing at entry level – people joining us for apprenticeships and our graduate schemes.

“That’s about 120 to 150 people each year and last year 25 per cent of them were women.”

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