AN international engineering firm is bringing 700 jobs to the North-East.
Amec wants highly-skilled workers to meet its expanding order book.
Bosses told The Northern Echo hundreds of staff, including supervisors, welders and pipe fitters, will operate across Teesside's chemical industry and the wider region.
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The company already runs its European headquarters from Darlington, where it employs more than 400 workers, and has international bases in the US, China, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.
The 700 posts are part of plans to take on 1,300 UK workers this year, with 400 extra staff set to be based across the rest of the country and about 200 in Scotland.
Last night, Darlington MP Jenny Chapman hailed the news, saying the plans proved large companies' faith in the North-East.
She said: “I've always been proud to have Amec in Darlington and their presence, coupled with this job creation, are a real feather in the cap.
“To be creating 700 jobs is tremendous and it's a real boost to the local economy, adding to the confidence already generated by the firm having its head office here.
“It just proves Darlington and the region are good places to do business.”
Amec's engineering division provides technical support to clients around the world and the group works with the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority at Sellafield.
Bosses are also in talks over a £1.9bn deal to buy US oil and gas specialist Foster Wheeler, which has offices in Middlesbrough and employs about 13,000 workers in about 30 countries.
Earlier this year, the firm's global management team secured a five-year £255m deal with the Kuwait Oil Company to provide project management and consultancy services, and also unveiled a record order book of £4bn.
James Ramsbotham, North-East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, also welcomed Amec's decision to strengthen its regional presence.
He said: “It’s fantastic the company is committed to expanding its North-East operations with a project that creates a wealth of highly skilled roles in the company.
“This investment will provide a timely boost to the regional economy and is a testament to the skills, experience and work ethic of the company’s current workforce.”
An Amec spokesman added: “There are always peaks and troughs in the blue collar asset management business and the need for recruitment is high as the moment.
“This isn't any untoward for the company and because of its growth, more workers are needed.
“It's normal practice, it's not just Darlington that is growing, it is the business overall.”