VECTOR Aerospace is targeting new markets and re-employing some Scottish staff it had to let go less than a year ago.

The company's Perthshire site plans to invest in new training programmes and is receiving around £250,000 of grant funding from Scottish Enterprise, which will help it create 31 engineering, manufacturing and back-up posts.

A further 40 staff are needed after the premises at Almondbank were adapted to handle the repair of aero engines.

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The ending of a long-term contract to repair components of Lynx and Sea King helicopters caused dozens of people to leave the business by April this year, with 77 transferring to AgustaWestland in Yeovil and 34 taking voluntary redundancy.

Vector Aerospace said it has now started to hire some people it had previously employed.

Mick O'Connor, business director of component services in the UK at Vector Aerospace, said the funding was a "vote of confidence" in the business.

He added: "For our part, we are also investing in the future of Almondbank by transferring equipment and capabilities from other Vector Aerospace facilities to the site here in Perthshire and investigating new market opportunities including composite repair technology and aircraft landing gear.

"By doing this, we have been able to re-employ a number of people we lost earlier this year, which has been great for morale and confidence at the site."

Since the loss of the major contract, Vector Aerospace has been working with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government on modernisation plans at Almondbank.

The site was visited yesterday by Finance Secretary John Swinney.

Jim McFarlane, from Scottish Enterprise, said: "Vector Aerospace is a great example of a company that is continuing to invest in its people and its facilities to maintain a competitive edge in today's challenging economy.

"We've worked closely with the company in recent months through our account management approach and we look forward to helping the company explore new market opportunities at home and internationally to support future business growth."

Vector Aerospace has its headquarters in Toronto, Canada, and offices in Africa, North America and Australia.

It employs 167 at Almondbank and expects to take that number to around 210 by March next year.