Around 70% of West Lothian's young dynamic workforce is employed in our fastest-growing sectors and that percentage looks set to grow as more and more companies relocate to West Lothian. We have strengths in a number of diverse sectors. With our own College and nine neighbouring Universities, the West Lothian workforce has a unique blend of vocational and academic qualifications.
Biotechnology and Life Sciences
Biotech R&D expertise is close at hand, as is the availability of a skilled workforce, thanks to West Lothian's proximity to nine universities. Add to this affordable business premises and excellent transport links and you have a winning formula for science-based businesses looking to grow from a Scottish base.
Given this background, it is hardly surprising that the area has developed into a uniquely successful location for biotechnology and the life sciences, with over 45 biotechnology, life science and support companies who generate turnover in excess of £1 Billion. Scotland’s largest life sciences firm, Q2, continues to grow its Scottish HQ in Livingston. Covid-vaccine developer, Valneva, chose West Lothian for the multi-million-pound expansion of its laboratory facilities.
The UK’s largest manufacturer of air-source heat pumps, Mitsubishi, has been based in West Lothian since the 1970s. Its workforce has demonstrated exceptional adaptability in its skillset over the decades.
Logistics and Distribution
Some 200 distribution companies have recognised the benefits of West Lothian's strategic location in Scotland that makes it ideal for logistics operations. At present, approximately 5,000 people are employed, accounting for around 12% of total employment in the local economy. Specialist warehouse and freight operations are linked to food, drink, electronics and other manufacturing operations. Key distribution hubs for major retail chains include J3 and J4 M8 near Bathgate/Livingston.
Food and Drink
The Food and Drink sector in West Lothian has 60 companies and 2,500 employees. Well-known names include Scotch whisky producers Glenmorangie and Glen Turner, whilst key food producers include Paterson Arran, AK Stoddart, and Macrae Edinburgh (Young's Seafood).
With key strengths in precision engineering and the offshore industry, West Lothian has some 110 engineering firms employing 1,800 people.
Firms such as Ritchie Precision, Deans Engineering and FoundOcean provide a variety of specialist engineering services across Scotland, the UK and beyond.
Local firms with 5,300 employees are based in West Lothian, this skilled employment is extremely significant to the local economy.