Living in the high-tech world of 2017, it would be easy to think that the whole economy is service driven. Indeed, we often hear that as a country “we don’t make stuff anymore.”
David Cameron and George Osbourne pledged to focus on manufacturing for the UK to grow its way out of recession and the “Northern Powerhouse” was a key component of this.
The service sector in the UK remains a massive component of the economy but with the weak Sterling, manufacturers are taking advantage of the export opportunities that arise.
Local manufacturer, Springfarm Architectural Mouldings (SAM), is one such company. Their growth post-recession has been such that they have now topped 200 employees and are always on the lookout for new talent.
The past 20 years have seen a major focus on tertiary education on the way into the job market, but with the rising cost of course fees, and more competition for jobs from increased numbers of graduates, university isn’t always the best option.
Grace Cahoon, SAM HR and training manager, said, “At SAM, we have a culture that promotes opportunities for apprenticeships, placement students, skilled and unskilled talent, internal transfers, promotions and personal development opportunities. We are extremely proud of our team who, through many different learning paths, have made SAM a local employer of choice. At SAM, your education and experience isn’t as important as your values and behaviours. If you have a passion to work in manufacturing, we want to hear from you.”
SAM supplies MDF mouldings to the construction and DIY sectors throughout the UK, Ireland and several European countries. The skill sets required are wide ranging, from skilled moulder and paint line operatives to stores personnel, customer services, planning and logistics, product development and engineering, as well as the traditional disciplines in finance, HR, IT, sales and marketing.
“Growing a business requires talented people with ambition,” said managing director Richard Holmes. “It’s always great to see employees build careers in the company and we have watched many progress through our ranks.”
Elizabeth Burrows started working for the company in an administration role in July 2004 and is now assistant procurement manager.
“I started in despatch in the logistics department and I have developed through the company in a variety of roles including sales order processing, scheduling, sales office manager and most recently, procurement. This was an entirely new role for me so for support I was offered the opportunity to undertake a diploma in procurement, which I have just completed. Through this, I have gained knowledge of sourcing, negotiation, business needs and relationship management. SAM has provided me with many opportunities for growth within the company, as well as the training required to support each role I have been in.”
It isn’t just in the office that people can progress either. Kieran McAllister started with SAM in February 2002 as a factory operative, and since then he has been employed as a logistics manager on night shift, assistant operations manager and manufacturing cell leader. He is now a weekend scheduler.
With the growing move to apprenticeships, SAM now recruits and trains school leavers on this journey to employment and takes on students through the Prince’s Trust, the youth charity that helps young people aged 13 to 30 get into jobs, education and training. Peter Adeyinka and Luke Jones both started working in SAM through a 2-week placement organised by the charity. Peter is currently working on a part-time variable role and Luke is in full-time employment. They have both worked in a number of areas through the factory and have received training at each stage. When asked what they enjoyed the most about their job, Peter said he loved working in the pick and pack department while Luke said he liked the people and work in general.
We asked Peter and Luke what they would say to anyone considering a career in manufacturing. Peter answered, “Definitely apply as you get to meet new people and learn new skills, and in such a busy environment your working day flies!” while Luke added, “Go for it! It provides a great opportunity to progress and the bonuses are great.”
Read the article here