AN engineer is targeting new jobs and support for the next generation after securing a deal to work with more than 1,000 high street stores.

Welding Engineers, which makes industrial doors, shutters and security gates and fencing, has been enlisted to support Superdrug, Savers and The Perfume Shop across the UK.

Bosses say the tie-up will see the business offer repair and installation services in the event of break-ins and breakdowns, as well as overseeing store upgrades.

The work comes amid a period of sustained growth for the firm’s plant on Parsons Industrial Estate, based on the outskirts of Washington, Wearside, with officials planning to add to its 24-strong team and recruit younger workers through a new apprentice scheme.

Michael Binnie, North-East area manager, said: “We see lots of opportunities in the retail sector, despite its current challenges, and are investing in new equipment to step up our capabilities in steel fabrication, which is an area of growing demand.

"Our ongoing success will depend hugely on the talented team we have built up in Washington and on bringing new skills into the business. The new apprenticeship in fabricating and welding will be an important part of this.”

The company also offers industrial roofing and structural glazing services, and lists the installation of a new roof system for bus operator Arriva and conversion of a former hangar into a maintenance bay at RAF Dishforth, near Ripon, in its order book.

Its growth has been supported by Sunderland City Council’s business investment team.

Councillor Harry Trueman, the authority’s deputy leader, said: “It is particularly encouraging to see the business investing in new skills for the future, creating jobs and diversifying.”