Up to 150 jobs are to be created after a disused factory was brought back to life.
Danish company Faerch Plast has pledged to recruit and invest in a local workforce, as it prepares its new site close to Durham to start production later this year.
The firm, which makes plastic packaging for the food industry, moved into the former Veriplast site at Dragonville Industrial Estate in early November.
It has started recruiting, with the aim of taking on between 100 and 150 permanent staff during the next three to four years.
Senior plant manager Anders T Jensen said: “We’re excited to be here and the project is moving ahead as planned with expected start-up beginning of April.
“Focus has been on upgrading and refurbishment of the factory and we have made significant investments in the building and machinery.
“Among other things, we are commissioning a new state-of-the-art high capacity extrusion line.
“In April, we will have the first Thermoform machines installed.
“Some of the skills we require are not readily available. We’re looking to invest in training and apprenticeships for certain areas including setters, operators, warehouse staff and extruder operators, but we are also seeking candidates with experience in these areas.”
Faerch Plast has enlisted the support of South Tyneside-based recruitment business Zenith People to find suitable staff.
Zenith, which operates in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, has been helping Faerch put together a management team for the Durham site.
General manager Alan Metcalfe said: “It’s great that the region can attract large companies such as Faerch Plast, and we’re delighted to be working with them over the course of the next few years.
“They’re renowned for being a fantastic employer so we’re lucky to have them in the North East.”