Barnsley business doubles workforce through apprentice programme

Posted on 12 Feb 2016 by Callum Bentley

A family-run manufacturing company which has nearly doubled its workforce over the past six months is setting its sights on significant future growth after calling on help from a unique Sheffield City Region scheme designed to support growing businesses.

Founded in 2010, Worsbrough-based Booths Manufacturing currently produce a range of more than 500 bespoke wooden products for the home, which are distributed to retailers across the UK.

Faced with a bulging order book and struggling to keep up with demand, founder and managing director, Derek Booth turned to the internet for help where he discovered Skills Made Easy – a programme aimed at helping businesses to overcome skills shortages.

Skills Made Easy helped Booths Manufacturing to identify suitable candidates, as well as helping to develop a training framework to meet the needs of business, allowing the apprentices to work towards a recognised qualification.

After interviewing two potential apprentices, Booth was unable to distinguish between them, so he decided to do the only thing which he thought was fair and offered them both a job.

Since joining the company Sam Andrews and Jooren Bloomaerte (both 17) have learned how to produce products using CNC Routers and precision laser cutting equipment, as well as spending time working towards apprenticeship qualifications in design.

The progress made by the two apprentices gave Booth the confidence to return to Skills Made Easy after deciding to further expand the company’s apprenticeship programme, with Cameron Ramsden (17) also joining the business.

Although it’s still relatively early days in the careers of the three apprentices, the founder believes that all three apprentices are already making a significant contribution to the business.

Since appointing the apprentices, the firm has also invested £25,000 in purchasing additional CNC Routing and laser cutting machinery allowing the company to continue its expansion plans and expand its existing range of products.

The managing director explained: “If someone told me a year ago that within just a few months the company would have doubled its workforce and have launched its own apprenticeship programme I think I’d have laughed them out of town!

“I have always liked the idea of apprenticeships as I thought it would give young people a chance to build a career with our business, but I wasn’t really sure what was involved or indeed whether our business was suitable.

“After looking at a number of different options I contacted Skills Made Easy for advice. They guided us through the process which proved to be much more pain-free than I had imagined.

“Although we only originally planned to recruit one apprentice, all three have made a huge impact on our business. They’ve added a new dynamic, bringing with them lots of energy and enthusiasm and progressing well in their new roles”.

Programme manager at Skills Made Easy, Laura Hayfield commented: “Skills Made Easy was launched to help businesses access the right help at the time they need it the most.

“The success Booth’s Manufacturing has enjoyed since it decided to launch its own apprenticeship programme last September is an illustration of how apprentices can make a positive impact upon businesses.

“Nationally, 70% of businesses employing an apprentice have reported increased levels of productivity and Booth’s success supports the truth to this statistic; so much so the company is recruiting a further two apprentices.”