A PROPOSED global centre of excellence for glass research and development has already recruited for several key positions.

Glass Futures – which developers hope to create on former industrial land in St Helens – has appointed 12 members of staff and secondees in managerial roles.

Among the positions are a technical director along with general, innovation and partnerships and finance managers.

More positions are set to open up as part of the phase two jobs’ drive that will continue into 2021 and beyond.

The recruits are all working remotely but there is hope that a temporary head office can be established in St Helens in the near future.

This would be the operational headquarters to spearhead the planned 158,000 sq. ft facility on the 14-acre site former United Glass site, which is adjacent to Saints' Totally Wicked stadium.

The £54m Glass Futures facility will be centred around a 30 tonne/day low carbon demonstration furnace creating the world’s first openly accessible, multi-disciplinary glass melting facility.

St Helens Star:

How Glass Futures could look

It would have the capability for research and development trials to demonstrate new manufacturing processes, products and approaches to improve efficiencies whilst decarbonising the glass industry and providing a world class training facility for the current and future workforce.

In total, backers of the scheme say the St Helens' site is expected to create between 50 and 80 skilled jobs directly, along with hundreds of indirect employment opportunities.

Glass Futures’ general manager Aston Fuller: “We hope to be recruiting a further five full-time members of staff to join us early in 2021 and these will be a variety of key roles around Industry 4.0, project engineering business development, media and marketing.

“The team are all working extremely well together at the moment, albeit remotely, and there is real excitement and a team spirit already apparent as we take rapid steps towards establishing the Glass Futures’ Centre of Excellence.

St Helens Star:

Aston Fuller

He added: “Glass Futures will be a 24/7 operations and we will need skilled engineers from all disciplines, along with a diverse range of skilled people to make up the operational support team.

"With innovation also being a key part of the centre’s offering, there will be a huge emphasis on training and apprenticeship opportunities, so we will be looking to recruit experienced industry hands to train and inspire the next generation of leaders for the global glass industry.”

Glass Futures is a not-for-profit membership organisation with a board comprising of senior leaders from the global glass industry, its supply chain and academia.

The facility will aim to enable highly diverse apprenticeships and provide a world beating environment to up-skill workers across the total glass supply chain.

Leaders of the scheme say that as the multi-agency work continues to bring the Glass Futures’ site forward, the recruitment process for current and future roles is moving ahead.

Prospective candidates can register their interest, confidentially, by emailing a covering letter and C.V to: careers@glass-futures.org.

Aston concluded: “We established the core of the Glass Futures’ team during the lockdown so the current working practice isn’t the “new norm” for us, it’s just the norm.

"It’s allowed us to start from a position of individual strengths and build a resilient team that’s already demonstrating the right attitude and culture that will make Glass Futures a truly global facility.”

Last month the Star reported how Glass Futures had been awarded a £7.1m contract by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to investigate alternative low carbon energy sources to replace high carbon natural gas in the production of glass.