Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

British manufacturer keen to nurture home-grown talent

Published: 13 July 2012
Tool supplier and manufacturer, Insulated Tools Ltd - ITL and The Wardle Group has been appalled by the lack of training and investment received by young people and has contacted local schools and colleges to take on new apprentices.
British manufacturer keen to nurture home-grown talent
The firm currently has three apprentices on board, in roles ranging from salesman to engineer, and is already looking to expand its team further. Keen to create jobs locally and provide training for young workers, ITL, based in East Grinstead, West Sussex, got in touch with the Job Centre and recruitment agencies to try and find new apprentices. Disappointed with the response, partner in the business Mark Wardle, decided to contact local educational facilities himself to see if they could recommend students with the skills necessary.

"The recruitment agencies were a total waste of time. I was really disheartened by it all. I'm a bit old fashioned, so I thought, why can't I call the schools and colleges myself and speak to the careers master?"

Mr Wardle explains why the group is so passionate about its apprenticeship scheme. "It horrifies me when I see the lack of training and investment in bringing young people into the business. I was very fortunate that people invested a lot in me and I had good training. I think it's important to give that back and make sure you do the same for someone else."

He added: "One of the apprentices said to me recently 'I can't believe what you're doing for me' and I just said, 'I'm only doing for you what somebody else did for me'. I think more people in the industry should be doing this."

The manufacturer and supplier, whose brands include Insulated Tools Ltd and CH Hanson, is also bucking the trend in the current climate, reporting a 35% sales increase for the year ended March 2012. With Q1 figures now finalised, the group has already seen a 17% jump on last year's increase.

As well as manufacturing under its own tool brands, ITL, The Wardle Group also exports products for other leading brands all over the world including; North America, South Africa, India, New Zealand and Australia.

When asked why he thinks the firm is bucking the trend, Mr Wardle said: "We are selling our products and services all over the world. We're not importing from China, we making our products in England and selling to places like The Middle East as well as Asia and beyond. People are fed up of buying products from China. People want quality and don't want the lead times or uncertainty over prices."

He added: "We are working our socks off but we are also producing quality products and providing a good service. If you can give that service and give the customer what he wants, rather than what you think he wants, he will reward you with more orders."

A keen advocate of manufacturing in the UK, Mr Wardle told DIY Week: "If Great Britain is going to be a force to be reckoned with, we've got to do it well and focus on that attention to detail and presentation."

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