Booming Barnsley business doubles workforce

Posted on 08/02/2016

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.

Booths Manufacturing apprentices

Worsbrough-based Booths Manufacturing was launched by father and son team Derek and Adam Booth in 2010 and his Debbie and son Craig quickly joined the fast-growing business. Booths 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, Derek turned to the internet for help where he discovered Skills Made Easy, a unique 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 Derek 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 (17) and Jooren Bloomaerte (17) have learned how to produce products using CNC Routers and precision laser cutting equipment, used to create intricate designs, as well as spending time working towards apprenticeship qualifications in design.

The progress made by Derek’s two apprentices gave him 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, Derek believes that all three apprentices are already making a significant contribution to the business.

Since appointing the apprentices, Booths Manufacturing 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, which ranges from bespoke custom- built radiator covers to cabinets and tables used to house retro games machines.  

Derek Booth, managing director, Booths Manufacturing said:

“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! As a small family-run business, recruiting additional employees was a big step for us even when it came to employing members of my family.

“The business has changed a lot since Adam and I first started trading; today we produce a range of more than 500 different products which are sold throughout the UK. My wife Debbie joined to help with the management of the business and my other son Craig also started working in the company, but as orders continued to increase I realised that I was rapidly running out of family members to help grow the business further!

“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 and 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”.

Laura Hayfield, Programme Manager at Skills Made Easy said:

“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 after employing an apprentice and Booth’s success supports the truth to this statistic; so much so the company is recruiting a further two apprentices.

“Since the Skills Made Easy project was launched in 2013, we have helped over 2000 businesses to overcome skills gaps in their workforce and helped to create new, skilled jobs within the local economy. Our unique and flexible approach to apprenticeship recruitment supports both businesses and young individuals looking to take the first step in their career. Through our work with Booth’s we were able to help to grow their business whilst offering  four passionate young people the chance to take the first steps in their chosen careers.”

A new website allowing Booths’ full product range to be purchased online is due to be launched in February and can be found at: www.boothsmanufacturing.co.uk/

Skills Made Easy provides a comprehensive range of training and apprenticeship advice to small and medium-sized businesses based within the Sheffield City Region. The programme is available at no costs to companies in the region and also helps businesses to access government grants to cover the costs of training. To find out more about the scheme, telephone: 0114 229 6183.