Great Yarmouth-based marine survey firm Gardline Marine Sciences has seen its workforce grow by about 20 new recruits each month for the past 18 months as the company wins new contracts.

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In a further sign of the growing importance of the offshore wind industry to region’s economy, the firm revealed that it had won a number of contracts in recent months with its subsidiary Gardline Geosciences – clinching a deal with Spanish energy giant Iberdrola to conduct a full geological survey of the Baltic Sea area, where the Wikinger offshore wind farm is planned.

John Morse, head of the renewables group at Gardline Marine Sciences, said that while 20 new recruits a month was a reasonable approximation, in July alone the company had 43 new starters at Gardline Marine Sciences and is currently sitting on 87 vacancies.

He said that the company was actively recruiting within the Gardline Environmental, Gardline Geosciences and Gardline Geosurvey parts of the business.

Mr Morse said: “We are taking on people all over the place. That is not replacements, that is new positions.”

He said that there were challenges with recruiting including the geography of Gardline in Great Yarmouth and there were limited people on whom the company could draw in the sector.

But the company has initiatives including trying to recruit from the military, working with schools and universities.

Mr Morse said: “We are talking to most of the universities, we have a close tie-up with the UEA. There are a lot of ex-UEA who work with us. It is about maintaining a relationship with the universities.

He said that the numbers of offshore staff in the company continued to grow, which was also a challenge.

“There is a problem in the offshore industry. Because the oil industry caught a severe cold in the mid 1980s there are a lot of people who did not enter the industry.” He said that they recruited people who showed a bit of initiative. He added: “As a company we tend not to use short term contractors.

“Over 90pc of our staff are employees of the company.”

The company has been very active in the offshore wind industry and in July an Alicat work boat, one of Gardline’s latest wind farm vessels, was visited by the Duke of York as part of his trip to the Scira Offshore Energy business to learn more about the Sheringham Shoal offshore windfarm project.

As well as providing transfer vessels to the project, Gardline has been working with Scira as the marine sciences contractor specialising in geophysical, hydrographic, environmental, oceanographic and geotechnical surveys.

The family-run firm has also been involved with seven out of nine surveys for the wind farm areas, known as Round Three, awarded by the Crown Estates.

The Gardline Group, which comprises at least 80 companies, employs about 2,000 people across the globe.

annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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