The North East is set for a year of 10,000 jobs and soaring ambitions as major new projects start taking shape that will change the lives of families across the region.

After a 2022 full of amazing previews and promises, 2023 will see some spades in the ground and steel going up as billions of pounds in investment start to pay off and young people can see what they are aiming for.

As Europe's largest brownfield development site, Teesworks is at the centre of a lot of the activity - but the action is happening all over the region.

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bp leads the way at Teesworks, with just under 6,000 jobs planned at its NZT Power plant, a natural gas-fired power plant with built-in carbon capture and at H2Teesside, one of the UK’s largest blue hydrogen production facilities.

Then comes the SeAH Wind factory producing the 'legs' for wind turbines. That will create 1,500 jobs in the supply chain and during construction and, once operational, a further 750 roles.

And only a few days ago we reported on an £11m boost for alfanar's project to make sustainable aviation fuel on Teesside - that will bring 1,000 more jobs - 700 during construction and around 240 when it is operational. 

There will also be 250 Teesworks jobs at the pioneering Circular Fuels plant which will take non-recyclable residual waste from households and industry and convert it into fuel.

Global aviation giant Willis Lease Finance Corporation says it will add 200 jobs at a state-of-the-art Jet Centre at Teesside Airport. Rolls Royce will match that figure if it chooses Teesside from the shortlist for its first factory manufacturing parts for its fleet of clean energy power stations.

The Northern Echo: Teesside could build the new Rolls Royce reactorsTeesside could build the new Rolls Royce reactors (Image: Press release)

One of the key elements for the electric car revolution the UK needs is lithium, so the 1,000 jobs Tees Valley Lithium is bringing to its Wilton site will focus attention on the region once again. 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen told us: "We've seen an awful lot of progress in the past 12 months with our vast demolition programme at Teesworks two years ahead of schedule to bring game-changing projects to our region.

"More than 1,000 jobs are here on site now with SeAH Wind's monopile facility coming together and the South Bank Quay progressing at pace.

"With projects like Net Zero Teesside, Carbon Capture and Storage and our world-leading chemical sector, the sky really is the limit. We have all the ingredients to lead the UK's charge to Net Zero and become the nation's capital for green jobs."

But also, North East giants like Cummins, GSK, and British Steel are all growing stronger in challenging markets and the expectation of good news stories rather than cutbacks is a mark not only of confidence, but also sheer resilience.

Much of the regional influence we now have is because of the huge focus on the Darlington Economic Campus at Feethams House and soon to be at the new Brunswick campus in the town where hundreds of government jobs will be based for the Treasury,  Department for International Trade, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Office for National Statistics and the Competition and Markets Authority.

The Northern Echo: How the new Brunswick site will lookHow the new Brunswick site will look (Image: Press release)

Other major projects include the new arena next to the Sage in Newcastle, which will bring around 500 jobs and a huge new asset to the region. In Middlesbrough, the Centre Square development is a new home for hundreds of jobs with companies like Firstsource and AXA. In Sunderland Quantafuel's recycling plant for 'impossible' plastic materials  and Wastefront's tyre recycling plant will bring another 100 jobs each as the city's Riverside development dominates its future.

We are a region awash with skills and drive with armies of young people who are desperate for jobs HERE and NOW - but projects of this magnitude take time. When they are all in place this region will be transformed, built on foundations that will reach far into the future and lead to a jobs pipeline the world will envy.

But for 2023 it will need patience and vision. Watch the spades and the steel appearing and see the hope they bring for our future.


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