FORTY jobs are being created in Alnwick and potentially hundreds more in the future, as a local fishing firm bids to revolutionise the industry.
LYNX Fishing, a specialist fishing tackle research and development company, was set up in early 2009 and is currently based at Cawledge Business Park.
In two weeks’ time, the company is moving into the former Alnmaritec building on Willowburn Industrial Estate, taking over 6,000 sq ft of office space and 11,500 sq ft of manufacturing space, with the option of taking on another 20,500 sq ft in the future, and expanding its workforce.
And next Thursday, to help fill the 40 posts, primarily in manufacturing, the company is hosting a jobs fair at the Northumberland Hall, when members of the public will be able to learn more about the company, fill in application forms and take some tests, with successful applicants being invited back for formal interviews.
This expansion has all come about thanks to the development of a new fishing tackle product called Precision Compression Technology.
When angling, knots in the line are the weakest part of the set-up as they are inconsistent, they weaken themselves under tension and tying them damages the line.
Someone with average knot-tying skill will only retain 40 to 60 per cent of line strength.
But the new technology, which has extensive worldwide patents and protection, is a method of joining fishing line using hollow tubes that are compressed. It will join tackle components to fishing line without the use of glue or knots.
Investment has come from the BiG (Business Investors Group) and the NETF (North East Technology Fund) as well as local private investors. LYNX Fishing claims the technology ‘always achieves 100 per cent strength of the line used, with 100 per cent consistency allowing the user 100 per cent confidence in the rig they are fishing with’.
CEO Andy Petherick, who is inspired by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, said: “The future’s bright for us. We could very easily, within three years, employ more than 400 people.
“We are looking for the managers of the future as we grow. We have very, very big plans.”
And Alnwick is at the heart of those plans.
“From a business point of view we have received a lot of support from the county council and Government grants that were available to further our research,” Andy said. “There’s a strong fishing heritage in Alnwick and we are looking forward to being based here forever. We don’t want to be anywhere else.”
The jobs boost has been welcomed in the town, with the Duke of Northumberland among those supporting the venture.
“I am fully supportive of LYNX Fishing and its focus on local regeneration,” he said. “Job creation is something that I actively encourage.”
Town and county councillor, Gordon Castle, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have an ambitious high-tech company with great potential and great plans for expansion.
“This will bring much-needed jobs to the town. It’s just what Alnwick needs – a new entrepreneurial employer.”
Coun Castle also praised the role of the county council and its officers, who have ‘found innovative ways’ to support the business.
In encouraging signs for future job creation in the town, it’s not just Andy and his colleagues at LYNX Fishing who are excited about Precision Compression Technology – it is causing a stir in the industry too.
Barney Wright, editor of Total Sea Fishing, said: “I thought I had seen it all but this is something very, very new and innovative. 100 per cent, it’s really, really good.”
David Guest, editor of Tackle Trade World, said: “LYNX can definitely improve fishing for everyone.
“I have seen products all over the world that manufacturers claim are revolutionary, I think this really is.”
The official European launch for the products will be at the European Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibition (EFTTEX) in Paris in June before stock becomes available in the UK around the end of August.
l The jobs fair will begin with an opening ceremony at 1pm and the day will run until about 5pm.
Applicants are asked to take along a CV and those successful will be invited back for formal interviews.