Welded steel mesh manufacturer Siddall and Hilton Products is continuing to invest in upskilling local people and plans to take on a further six trainee operators during 2022.
The long-established Brighouse-based company, which is the UK’s largest manufacturer of welded steel mesh for high-security fencing, general fencing and industrial mesh panels, last year launched a bespoke training programme to provide a structured induction for new starters as it continues to grow its team.
With ambitious expansion plans, the business is continuing to invest in machinery and in redeveloping its site in the town, as well as developing and rewarding its 60-strong team.
Ian Thurley, chief executive, said: “Given the business’ continued strong growth, we need to make sure that we have the skills we need in-house as we expand. As an historic Brighouse business, we are committed not only to investing in our local workforce, but also to ensuring we share our success with them.
“Our comprehensive training programme means that someone can join the business with no previous experience and be able to operate one of our complex, specialist welding machines within six months. As well as providing training and job security, we have also reviewed and improved the package we offer. Structured career progression means that operators are rewarded every time they learn to run an additional machine and they can also bolt-on other roles and add other new skills.
“For example, we have recently introduced a programme for Health and Safety Champions with Institution of Occupational Health (IOSH) training to help improve safety on site around-the-clock and increase awareness on the shop floor. In addition, members of the team have the opportunity to undertake Lean manufacturing training, whilst we also support mesh operators who want to take mechanical or electrical courses to improve their skills and qualifications.”
Run by experienced mesh operator and in-house training expert, Nick Brown, the trainee development programme is an eight-week long structured and supported induction process, covering every aspect of loading, setting up, adjusting and operating one of Siddall and Hilton Products’ five welding machines and also includes materials handling and fork truck driver training.
Ian Thurley addesd: “Our vision for the business is to create a world-class operation with highly skilled and engaged colleagues who are committed to the business’ future success, and, in return, we will provide them with opportunities to build a rewarding, secure and varied career.
“I firmly believe that when the company does well, everyone should share in the success. For example, 2020/21 was another successful year for Siddall and Hilton Products and to show our appreciation of our hard-working and dedicated team who soldiered on despite significant pandemic disruption, we gave every one of them a £2,000 ad hoc bonus.
“Training, development, recognition and reward are integral to our ethos. We are striving to create a culture at the heart of our business where our people feel respected and valued, whether that is through career development or financial reward.”