Aycliffe Today Business PNE1578_AycliffeTodayBusiness_Issue28_WEBhighres - Page 5
The magazine for Aycliffe Business Park | 5
BREXIT: THE FUTURE OF
EU WORKERS WITHIN
Hitachi begins work on Virgin
Trains’ Azuma fleet
Virgin Trains’ customers are a step closer
to new trains as work begins on the Azuma
(Class 800) fleet, due to enter service on the
east coast in 2018.
Work on the bodyshells is taking place
in Kasado, Japan, before the trains arrive in
the UK to be built by Hitachi’s manufacturing
team in Newton Aycliffe.
Hitachi’s UK train manufacturing team
on Aycliffe Business Park is now home to
over 900 employees including more than
50 apprentices. UK build work on the Virgin
Azuma will begin this summer.
The Virgin Azuma will transform travel and
customer experiences when it arrives on the
east coast main line next year.
The fleet of 65 trains will provide an extra
12,200 seats, and faster journeys will make
direct routes to new destinations such as
London-Middlesbrough possible, as well as a
big increase in through services from London
to places such as Bradford, Harrogate and
Hitachi Rail managing director Karen
Boswell said: “The new Azuma fleet will be a
combination of Japanese design and British
“The trains are built using Japanese bullet
train technology, world famous for its quality
David Horne, managing director of Virgin
Trains on the east coast, said: “We are very
excited to be moving closer to the day when
our fantastic new train comes into service.
“The arrival of Azuma in 2018 will mark
another milestone on our journey towards
totally transforming travel for our customers,
and the work happening now in Kasado and
beginning in the summer at Newton Aycliffe
are important steps on that journey.”
Meanwhile, new Intercity Express trains
built in Aycliffe have already completed their
first journey in ahead of entering passenger
service later this year.
Hitachi successfully ran the test train along
the Great Western main line to Wales.
100 jobs saved at Compound Photonics facility
Around 100 jobs have been secured after
a US firm completed the purchase of the
Compound Photonics factory in Newton
Kaiam Corporation, a US maker of
datacentre transceivers, has acquired
the manufacturing facilities at the Aycliffe
Business Park site.
The acquisition includes investment by
Compound Photonics into Kaiam to further
develop the factory, which was formerly
home to RFMD and Fujitsu.
Kaiam is a private company founded in
2009 and makes hybrid photonic integrated
circuit (PIC) technology for pluggable optical
transceivers in data-centres.
The Newton Aycliffe facility will
enable Kaiam to significantly increase its
manufacturing capacity for silica-on-silicon
planar lightwave circuits (PLCs) and 40Gb/s
and 100Gb/s transceivers, and adds both
electronic and optoelectronic compound
semiconductor devices to the firm’s
The acquisition brings new space, tooling
and an experienced team to complement
and expand on Kaiam’s existing large-
scale manufacturing facility in Livingston,
The new facility also allows Kaiam to
produce indium phosphide (InP) photonic
integrated circuits that will be needed for
advanced transceivers in the future.
The 300,000 sq ft Aycliffe site includes
a fully operational wafer fab with 100,000
sq ft of cleanroom space for processing,
packaging, and testing III-V devices.
Kaiam CEO Bardia Pezeshki said: “The
Newton Aycliffe facility is a strategic
acquisition that gives us both increased
manufacturing scale and vertical integration.
“This new facility will give us this
essential PIC capability, positioning us
well to meet our customers’ needs for
continuously improving speed, cost, power,
density, and manufacturing scale.”
Many UK businesses are finding
themselves in ‘limbo’ following the
triggering of Article 50 on March 29,
marking the beginning of the UK’s
departure from the EU.
According to the latest research from
the Federation of Small Businesses, over
half of small businesses with EU workers
are worried about accessing people with
the right skills, or growing their business
Many employers are asking themselves:
What will happen to my workforce? How
can I protect my workforce? Should I
recruit an EU citizen now? How can I
maintain my business’ growth?
Imagi ne, you have just opened a brand
new Hotel and 90% of your staff are from
the EU– the Government pass policy
that you can only retain 45% of your EU
workforce due to a push on employing
UK nationals – what can you do?
Answers remain unclear, but what is
clear is that businesses must ready
themselves for a new way of recruiting
EU workers post-Brexit, if at all.
Currently, employers are free to recruit
EU citizens living within the UK and
abroad due to the right of free movement
enjoyed by EU citizens, however when
the UK leaves the EU, this right of free
movement will no longer be automatic.
No doubt there will be a transitional
period for workers and even special
provisions for those who have worked in
the UK long term, but with the number of
EU workers in the UK at over two million,
SMEs need to know they can utilise this
pool of workers and employ the right
SMEs should continue to recruit
EU citizens with the hope that
Government will implement sensible
transitional arrangements, phasing the
implementation of a new immigration
system slowly to ensure SMEs can
flourish in a post-Brexit Britain.
If you’re an SME and need advice on
current employees or future recruits
speak to our Business Immigration
specialists within our Employment team.
Corporate Commercial Department