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Siemens backs EU remain campaign as it starts training Hull workforce

The project director of Siemens Hull says his company is backing the campaign for the UK to remain part of the EU. Finbarr Dowling has been speaking as the first of hundreds of workers to be employed at the company's new wind turbine blade factory in the city travel to Denmark to begin their training.

"Much of what we manufacture today ends up in the European market being used by European consumers. That's one thing. I think the second thing where interdependence with Europe is crucial is the free movement of people so that free movement of talent is something that we do today and it's something we wouldn't want not to have to do."

– Finbarr Downling, Siemens Hull Project Director
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Number of job offers made so far

At the start of September the company's new facility at Alexandra Dock in Hull will begin manufacturing 75m long blades for wind turbines. The site is being built with a £310m joint investment between the company and Associated British Ports. When pressed on whether that investment would have gone ahead of Britain was not part of the EU, the Project Director admitted the uncertainty could have made such a decision more difficult:

"If I was facing a decision now the dynamics now are very different than they were then so there's too many uncertainties frankly and uncertainties are not good bases for making big, big decisions in terms of investment. That's going to absolutely figure in terms of the decision you ultimately made."

– Finbarr Downling, Siemens Hull Project Director

But while this is one firm which would like to see Britain remain within Europe, those campaigning for the UK to exit the EU say businesses should be looking further afield than Europe:

"I think Siemens set up in this country, when do you think, 1854, but long before the European Union was even dreamt of and they'll be here long after the European Union has faded away. You're seeing British exports now increasingly going to other destinations around the world, not just the European Union. There's big opportunities for all our companies."

– Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, Leave campaigner

As the referendum campaign goes on, so too will the new recruits' training. They will be in Aalborg in Denmark throughout the summer where they are shadowing members of the Danish workforce to learn the precise techniques they will need to use when they return to Hull.

"Oh it's really interesting. We're getting to see the actual process from start to finish. The Danes are brilliant at it so they're teaching us, obviously, what we need to do when we take it back to Hull and do it ourselves."

– Ben Brooke, trainee.

By the time their training is finished we will know the result of the referendum and what effect that will have on businesses like Siemens.

Watch James Webster's full report from Denmark: