More than 50 new jobs will be created in Sunshine North to build some of Victoria’s emergency vehicles, following a $1 million state government boost.
R A Bell and Company on Berkshire Road has received a $1 million grant to help create 51 new jobs, including 39 opportunities for former automotive workers.
The third-generation family business designs and manufactures emergency service and specialty vehicles for private and public sector agencies.
It fits out vehicles for organisations including the Country Fire Authority, State Emergency Service, Victoria Police and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. It also caters for the water and waste industries.
Business development and industry engagement manager Peter Fowler said the funding would help the company to construct a new manufacturing facility and invest in equipment.
Mr Fowler said the 4000-square-metre expansion of its site would cost a total of $4 million and was due to be completed by the end of November.
He said the extra jobs would be needed once the expansion was complete and employment opportunities would be in the areas of vehicle building, sheet metal, auto electrical, boiler-making and general trade.
The business currently employs 130 people, including staff from Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Hobsons Bay and Hume.
Peter Langdon, a former Ford worker with almost 40 years experience, is among the latest recruits.
Mr Langdon, a Craigieburn resident, has traded the production line for a job building emergency vehicles.
He is a vehicle builder, constructing specialised components to go into emergency service vehicles.
“It’s very rewarding,” Mr Langdon said. “Seeing a completed vehicle that may be going to the State Emergency Service, Country Fire Authority, or even interstate emergency services is special, knowing we provide a really good product that will be involved in … life-saving situations.”