Grangemouth is already synonymous with the chemical industry within Scotland and the UK but moves are afoot to spread the word to the rest of the world.
The Chemical Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group has released a new strategic plan laying out its goals up to and including 2025.
Backed by Scottish business, innovation and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse, the plan has four key priorities and Grangemouth plays a prominent part in all of them – the transformation of Grangemouth’s chemical science cluster into a key European hub, realising Scotland’s potential in the industrial biotechnology sector, establishing Scotland as a world class centre of high value manufacturing and delivering a skills investment plan which will provide easy-to-access training and education at all levels in order to support the growth of the chemical sciences sector.
Tom Shields, acting chairman of the Chemical Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group, said: “Grangemouth has the potential to be a global player. It already is in some ways with products from Grangemouth being used all over the world.
“There is great potential to go even further and be highly competitive with other renowned chemical clusters like Houston, Texas.
“It’s the largest chemicals cluster in Scotland with a number of large chemical companies like Ineos and Calachem which are household names in the chemical industry. And there is a whole network of other companies which support these bigger companies in the whole area around Grangemouth.
“If Grangemouth is to be competitive in a world sense then it must be able to compete against other areas in the UK like Teeside and Merseyside.”
Grangemouth does have a lot going for it – at least in terms of what it can offer chemical firms looking to move into the area, with good transport links and other factors making it an attractive location to site a business.
Mr Shields said: “Grangemouth is very well placed to attract inward investment and become a centre of high value manufacturing. It does have quite a bit of land available in the Port, at Ineos and at Calachem and is also very well served with utilities like heat and gas to attract firms.
“Ineos has invested £450 million in its Grangemouth site in the last few years. There are quite a lot of new buildings which have appeared in the last ten years and we could do with even more.”
Chemical Sciences Scotland member Ian Little, also a site business development manager at Ineos, is overseeing the work being done to transform Grangemouth’s chemical science cluster into a key European manufacturing hub.
He said: “Building on the considerable recent investment in manufacturing in Grangemouth by Ineos and other major companies, this plan aims to engage all stakeholders to create in Grangemouth a compelling, sustainable, competitive position in chemicals manufacturing, creating a focal point for investment in high value chemicals manufacturing and significantly expanding the local and Scottish economy.”
Any industry is only as good as its workforce and the strategy looks to help give businesses access to all the training they need to improve and grow.
Alistair Cameron, CEO at Scotmas Group, is the brains behind the strategy’s Skills Investment Plan.
He said: “The chemical sciences sector provides high quality jobs, and a vibrant environment which fosters opportunities for innovation and research and development.
“Remaining competitive and productive in these sectors requires a highly skilled workforce who are alive to the possibilities offered by increased digitisation and analytical techniques that drive innovation, while maintaining operational excellence and competitiveness.
“Our ambitious strategy to grow and strengthen the chemical sciences sector is aligned with a skills investment plan to give our companies access to the talent they need.”
The strategy covers the next eight years and there are a number of targets to be met during that time.
Mr Shields said: “We have produced a document setting out some goals that will take us through to 2025. We have to put time scales and hard targets in there to be able to drive forward the growth we want to achieve.
“It’s really important to set new goals and put time scales against them. At Chemical Sciences Scotland our aim is to sustain a vibrant and competitive Scottish chemicals industry driving growth in the Scottish economy.
“Our ambitious strategy will look attract new investment through innovative new models and inspire more businesses to develop innovative new products, processes and services.
“In support of this we are also aiming to provide the infrastructure for a leadership and skills pipeline across all disciplines and roles as well as making communication and connection simple between businesses.
“The improvement of an entire economic sector requires the building of a community of businesses, academics and stakeholders.”
Visit www.chemicalsciencesscotland.com/css-strategic-plan-2025 to view the full strategic plan.