March 31, 2020
Last month, I had the pleasure of joining colleagues from North Tyneside Council and the North of Tyne Combined Authority in welcoming Europe’s largest domestic alarm provider Verisure UK Services Limited to its new UK headquarters at Quorum Business Park, North Tyneside.
It marked the culmination of a two-year journey that began in 2018 with a phone call from Verisure about the company’s interest in opening a new base in the UK.
Now on site, Verisure has committed to creating 1000 new jobs, with the vast majority of roles being offered to people in the North East.
It’s a fantastic success story for our region and a great example of how inward investment works in practice.
Over the past six years, Invest North East England and its seven local authority partners have helped bring more than 500 investment projects to the region, creating in excess of 21,000 jobs through both UK and foreign direct investment.
Our reputation as a major hub for some of the UK’s growing sectors, such as health and life sciences, digital and tech, energy, advanced manufacturing and business services, has drawn interest from investors keen to tap into the skills, talent and expertise we have in abundance in North East England.
In the case of Verisure, my colleague David Pattison took the first call from the company’s field operations manager Kevin Croft (who will be running the new facility), who spoke about the company’s ambition to move its existing headquarters facility in London to a new location in the UK.
It was reassuring to know all of the company’s requirements were available in North East England.
After our initial chat, we got to work on preparing a detailed proposition about why North East England was the right location for the company.
As a regional agency, we can provide a compelling overview drawing on the strengths from across the region.
We focused on the strong and growing business services sector, as well as the pipeline of talent available in the form of our 100,000 students at our universities, and the 130,000 staff currently employed in our existing business services companies.
With many international companies, such as EY, Sage and Accenture, all boasting major offices in the region, we were confident Verisure would agree the skills and talent in North East England were a good match for their business.
A real selling point for North East England is our region’s very low staff turnover rates, giving businesses the confidence they can invest in staff for the long-term and benefit from a workforce that is loyal, supportive and highly-skilled.
This comes with the added bonus that people from the North East are renowned for their enthusiasm and friendliness – really important qualities for large business service centres and something Verisure particularly loved about the area.
We also highlighted the wealth of available top- quality modern office accommodation in our city centres and edge-of-town business parks.
Another positive we showcased was the region’s excellent connectivity. Our road, rail, air and sea links make us very attractive for businesses with an international focus.
The incredible asset we have in the Tyne and Wear Metro and the relatively low levels of congestion on the region’s roads always impress companies new to the area.
Of course, there’s more to creating a successful business than the essential business infrastructure – quality of life and the general feel of the local area play a huge part too.
With some amazing and unique cities on the doorstep, and easy access to stunning coast and countryside, we were confident Verisure would share our enthusiasm for the region.
The next stage in the process was to bring Verisure to North East England so they could see for themselves what a fantastic base the region could be for their company.
I always feel it is at this stage the penny drops. Any destination can sell itself on paper, but I think when people see North East England with their own eyes, they really grasp what an exciting, thriving and welcoming destination it is.
We toured the team around our cities to show them the different types of properties available.
Our local authorities, recruitment agencies and business support organisations did a fantastic job of making them feel welcome and demonstrating the outstanding level of support available to businesses moving to the region.
Following the familiarisation visit, and after shortlisting from 16 possible destinations, Leeds/Bradford was the final ‘competition’ standing in our way of landing Verisure in the North East.
Another series of visits followed before we finally received the news we’d been hoping for – Verisure had chosen North Tyneside as the location for its new UK headquarters.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of hard work from a lot of people that goes into landing a significant inward investment deal like this. It can often be a long process too; from the initial conversation to actually signing on the dotted line can take many years.
We’re delighted Verisure has joined the long list of businesses moving to North East England. It’s further testament that there is real business confidence in our region and that we can play a significant role in helping ‘level up’ the UK economy.
I wanted to end by sharing a story from one of my colleagues who took some of Verisure’s existing London-based staff on a tour of the region.
Verisure was keen to get key staff to relocate to help business continuity.
The staff on the trip, most of whom had not been to the North East before, were so blown away by the warm welcome they received and the quality of life on offer in the area, many of them didn’t want to get back on the train to go home!
In fact, the number of staff choosing to relocate has been much higher than Verisure expected.
Personally, I think that speaks volumes.
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