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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Cumbrian firm’s laboratory boost

A Cockermouth company has opened a £500,000 laboratory as part of a £2.5 million investment in their factory.

James Walker Ltd opened the laboratory this week and said they hoped it would lead to more jobs for West Cumbrians.

It follows investment of millions of pounds in the Gote Brow plant over the past 18 months.

The seals and gaskets firm now employs 350 people – more than at any other time in its history.

Andrew Douglas, laboratory manager, said: “We have fantastic facilities available and there is nothing else like this in the UK.

“We have a programme of apprenticeships and allow people to learn while working at the business.

“Most are local people and this business is important to the local area.”

The laboratory was opened on Wednesday by Debbie Keighley, technical capability manager for Sellafield, which is a major customer of James Walker.

She said: “A lot of young people coming out of schools want a career but want to stay in Cumbria.

“This will help them develop skills for the future so it is very important.

“It is a credit to James Walker that they have had the confidence to invest in something that will be a great benefit to us all.”

The laboratory will be fitted with equipment to allow workers to test materials to see how they work before manufacture.

The company has built up a team of experienced scientists and engineers responsible for the development of future technology.

Mr Douglas said customers were seeing the benefits of their investment in the business.

“James Walker is the place to be for any engineers or materials scientist, he added.”

Peter Walton, head of materials, said the investment and research reflected commitment to providing a service to the area.

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