Andrew Bowie MP visits JFD Westhill to see a global success story in the underwater industry

  • Date: 5th February 2024
  • Company: JFD
  • JFD showcased its local community impact highlighting JFD’s contributions over the past 40 years for local employment, economic growth, industry technology, safety and community engagement 

  • JFD demonstrated its world-leading life support system, COBRA, which plays a pioneering role improving safety for those who work subsea 

  • Andrew met the next generation of JFD’s team, including apprentice technicians and machinists 

Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, visited JFD at its Westhill operation on Friday the 2nd of February. JFD is the Defence division of James Fisher & Sons plc.  Andrew was hosted by Jean Vernet, CEO of James Fisher & Sons, and Rob Hales, JFD Managing Director.

During the visit, JFD updated Andrew on the latest developments in life support equipment for commercial and military divers, submariners, and special operations forces. JFD also outlined the company’s steadfast dedication to the local community, building on 40 years of success.  Andrew toured the facility to see JFD’s expertise in specialised engineering, advanced manufacturing, and efficient production capabilities, and hear about the company’s plans for further international growth in the subsea sector.  

Rob Hales, JFD Managing Director commented:

‘Andrew is a great champion of local employers in Aberdeenshire and we were proud to welcome him back to JFD Westhill to showcase our work in the subsea industry. We have exciting growth potential, underpinned by the support of our local community, partners and leadership in Aberdeen. Andrew has a real insight into the needs of specialist employers like JFD and we discussed the opportunities to accelerate our international growth.’

During his visit Andrew met one of JFD’s young apprentices and discussed JFD’s ongoing commitment to developing specialist skills in Westhill. JFD employs 160 people in Aberdeen, offering a diverse and interesting opportunity to apply and develop specialist and transferrable skills.

A diver within the on-site test tank welcomed Andrew to the facility wearing one of our Shadow Back Mount Life Support Systems. JFD is a global leader in the manufacture of closed and semi-closed circuit life support systems for Special Forces, Mine Countermeasures and Commercial Divers. COBRA (Compact Bailout Rebreathing Apparatus) is recognised as the most extensively used emergency bailout system for commercial divers worldwide providing a step change in safety with up to 45 mins emergency breathing gas in the event of a primary failure.

Andrew Bowie MP said:

‘I was delighted to visit JFD again to hear about the great progress they are making in this critical industry for global energy security and defence. JFD is a world-leader in subsea life support, creating highly skilled jobs in Westhill based on its international export success. I was especially pleased to meet Ryan – as an apprentice technician he will play an important role in the next generation of JFD’s success.’

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