The largest private provider of veterinary public health professionals in Europe, Eville & Jones, has increased its workforce by a fifth despite an industrywide recruitment crisis and has set sights on becoming the world’s leading veterinary public health organisation.
The Leeds-based business, recently listed in The Sunday Times top 100 fastest growing private companies, provides veterinary, compliance, and public health solutions to the food industry. The experts have made significant cultural and strategic changes in the past two years to allow for a modernisation of the business and make way for future international growth and a broadening of services.
In May, the business introduced a new management structure to support growth, deliver more services and opportunities for the team. This has been directed by a new leadership team that has been implemented gradually since 2020 with Charles Hartwell as chief executive, Sophie Willis as director of people, and Ben Bridger as finance director.
In addition, newly created roles of national technical leads have been established to oversee technical managers and ensure delivery of the highest technical standards.
Overall, a 20 per cent total increase in field staff to over 850 heads following new opportunities created by Brexit, means the business is now proudly made up of 51 different nationalities. A large number of these are vets from Turkey who have come to the UK to work in public health, and meat hygiene inspectors join from Africa to work on the FSA contract who are all qualified vets in their own country.
Furthermore, with Veterinary Export Health Certificates now required for the EU, the business has had a huge growth in export customers post-Brexit, which has led to a 566 per cent increase in vets who work in this area.
The changes made to Eville & Jones’ team and strategy has made it more resilient, facing challenges of Brexit to grow positively and efficiently. The increase comes despite recruitment challenges due to the pandemic and regulatory changes following the UK’s exit from the EU.
Looking ahead, Eville & Jones is implementing an ambitious growth strategy, which will see it further expand its range of services offered to the food industry both in the UK and overseas. As a result, it expects to see continued growth within its workforce.
Charles Hartwell, chief executive officer of Eville & Jones, said: “Veterinary public health is often overlooked by UK graduates, so we are reliant on overseas recruitment. Brexit presented significant opportunities to grow the business, but also introduced barriers overseas recruitment, especially from the EU.
“We successfully mitigated many of these barriers through quickly expanding our recruitment into new markets including Turkey, Africa, and South America. Expanding our E&J family to 51 nationalities increase the breadth of our expertise and stands us in good stead for continued growth.”
“We are on a journey of cultural change, guided by a clear set of values, and focused on delivering consistent, expert and value adding services to our customers . We are investing in and empowering our people and providing them with opportunities to realise their career ambitions, which is setting the business up for an exciting future.”