Recovery hopes for Shropshire amid jobs boom Business

Corbetts the Galvanizers site in Telford

As Covid restrictions continue to ease and more people return to work, businesses across Shropshire and Mid Wales have reported a strong demand for their products and services, leading to the need to expand their teams.

Meanwhile, jobs website CV-Library has also reported postings of vacancies in the West Midlands increased by 5,280 last week.

The return to work has led to a sales boom for a Telford-based custom clothing manufacturer and supplier of personalised workwear.

MyWorkwear, which has seen an impressive GBP300,000 increase in sales, currently has four roles being advertising, including a senior software developer, embroiderer and two Kickstart positions.

The latter has been more difficult than expected to fill, with very little interest in the production assistant roles and the office one only recently being successfully appointed.

“With all the talk of young people suffering most with the pandemic, we’re a little bit surprised that we haven’t had more applications for our Kickstart scheme,” said James Worthington, managing director of MyWorkwear.

“We’ve just taken on our first person to support us in the office and she’s an absolute gem, so we’re going to persevere and make sure we continue to offer employment opportunities to local young people.”

Corbetts the Galvanizers, one of the UK’s oldest galvanizing businesses, has secured a string of new orders across construction, street furniture, transport, utilities and a world-first collaboration with Fastline Steel Services – the latter will see it galvanize over 15,000 tonnes of perimeter steel fencing every year.

As a result of the expansion, the company has created 45 new jobs, covering general operatives, forklift truck drivers, administrative staff and middle management roles at its Telford-based factory.

“This is the most interest we’ve had in positions for the last two years and we’re seeing a very high calibre of people, with various skills, applying,” said Natalie Hughes, HR manager at Corbetts the Galvanizers.

“As a result of a PR campaign, social media activity and some strategic advertising, we’ve received in excess of 200 applications in just a few weeks, many for positions we sometimes struggle to fill. Fork Lift truck drivers is one example.

“The way orders are going and how our future sales pipeline is shaping up, I would imagine we could well need more than the 45 new staff we are currently recruiting.”

Jacqui Gough, director at construction firm SWG Group which has offices in Welshpool and Shrewsbury, said: “Despite the pandemic and the associated safety procedures, the construction industry has been able to continue to work for much of the past year.

“In our case, we started 2021 as busy as we have ever been and have needed to recruit staff to meet that demand.

“Recently we have taken on additional skilled tradespeople, site managers, and quantity surveyors as we work on a number of major contracts in Mid Wales and Shropshire, with lots more work in the pipeline.”

A number of marketing and digital positions are currently available at M3, a full service advertising agency with offices in Albrighton and Birmingham.

The company has recently won two high-profile tenders to provide creative work for MG Motor UK and the West Midlands Metro, beating off competition from national agencies in the process.

Nick Lovett, managing director of M3, said: “We’ve got three permanent positions for a SEO manager, Paid Search Executive and a SEO technical expert currently available, not to mention two maternity cover roles.

“There has been lots of applications for client services, but a lot of interest in our digital positions often come through recruitment agencies. We’d love this to change and for talented individuals, who are keen for a new challenge, to contact us direct.

“What has been interesting is the volume of internship requests, proving that individuals interested in the creative sector now see Shropshire as a place to learn and develop.”

Law firm Lanyon Bowdler, which has offices in Shropshire, Herefordshire and North Wales, has taken on additional staff across a range of practice areas.

The firm has appointed a new learning and development manager, along with an IT training specialist, to help develop staff, and a number of lawyers and support staff, including two apprentices, have been recruited.

Recent appointments include experienced agricultural consultant, Steven Corfield, along with additions to commercial property and corporate law teams.

Debbie Brooks, Lanyon Bowdler’s HR manager, said: “We have seen demand increase across many areas as businesses have adapted to the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic.

“These are undoubtedly difficult times for many businesses, and we are continuing to assist clients with a variety of legal issues, which has led to the need to expand our team over the past 12 months.”

Elsewhere, record growth is fuelling expansion at Mid Wales-based variable frequency drive (VFD) innovator and manufacturer Invertek Drives.

With double digit growth in sales in 2020 and record figures already in the first quaryer of 2021, the company is embarking on a recruitment drive across its innovation and manufacturing departments.

“2020 was a remarkable year for us.

Despite the global challenges, demand for our Optidrive VFDs rose throughout the year.

Already in 2021, we have surpassed previous records set in our 22-year history,” said Rhydian Welson, sales and marketing director of Invertek Drives.

“We’re currently undertaking a recruitment drive as part of our ongoing investment and expansion in all parts of the business.

Production has continually increased and we’re looking to add production operatives to our dedicated team.

“Our innovation team is also growing as we design and develop the next generation of VFD technology, and we have several positions currently available for experienced technicians and engineers.”

Kirsty Smallman and Rhea Alton of J&PR in Wellington said it was more important than ever before to offer people job opportunities where possible.

The PR and content creation agency has taken on two new members of staff during the pandemic, with a third employee joining the firm next month under the Kickstart programme.

“Sophie was half way through her apprenticeship when the pandemic hit and it would have been easy to say she couldn’t continue with us as we had lost many of our clients in the events industry but we had invested in her learning and we knew she had a successful future ahead of her,” Kirsty said.

“We were able to offer Sophie a full-time job at the end of her apprenticeship, whilst we also employed a new part-time member of staff in February and are also looking forward to welcoming a Kickstart employee in the next few weeks.”