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Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK

UK: Scotland

Polaroid jobs picture bright

Polaroid has been n Scotland since 1965

Production has started at a new camera film factory which will lead to the creation of 250 jobs over the next three years.

Leslie Anderson reports: "A welcome boost to an area of high unemployment"
First Minister Donald Dewar set the multi-million pound Polaroid plant in motion at Vale of Leven in Dunbartonshire, which has a high rate of unemployment.

The new facility, which forms part of the company's existing manufacturing site, produces miniature film for a top-selling pocket camera.

The development should secure the future of the plant by broadening its role from the assembly of products to a fully integrated design, development and manufacturing site.

'Testament to the workforce'

As more staff are needed at the facility the company will be recruiting operators, mechanical and process engineers and manufacturing support workers.

Mr Dewar said: "This further substantial investment by Polaroid in new technology and new skills, is another important development in the history of a plant which has been a major contributor to both the Scottish and the local economy for some 34 years.

[ image: Local children were invited to the launch]
Local children were invited to the launch
"It is also further testament, if any were needed, to the skill and ability of the workforce at the plant and to the faith shown in them by Polaroid".

Polaroid Chief Executive Officer Gary DiCamillo said the plant's products were used in portable pocket cameras "to create self-developing instant colour photos or photo stickers which are proving to be a huge hit with kids and teens".

"This camera was introduced in Japan during 1998 with unprecedented success and the decision was taken to bring the product to the worldwide market as soon as improved production facilities were scaled up."

Scottish growth

He added that the decision to base the manufacturing process in Scotland was based on the successful track record of the Vale of Leven centre.

[ image: The plant makes film for the I-Zone camera]
The plant makes film for the I-Zone camera
Polaroid employs more than 9,000 people worldwide, 1,375 of them in the UK.

About 1,000 people work at the Vale of Leven facility and a further 180 at the International Business Centre in Glasgow.

Vale of Leven was Polaroid's first presence in Scotland in 1965.

Last September, Mr Dewar opened a new Design and Development Centre at the site, creating 30 jobs for skilled operators to develop new products for the worldwide market.

Mr Dewar also formally commissioned a new 7.5m sunglass lens machine, used in the manufacture of polarised sunglass lens blanks.

Meanwhile, a total of 450 jobs are being created across Scotland by the pub chain, JD Wetherspoon.

The company is opening 18 new bars over the next 12 months and says it is also cutting the prices of some of its most popular beers.

The announcement came as the company unveiled profits of 26m.

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