Kirkby plastic firm celebrates 25th anniversary

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The managing director of a thriving Kirkby plastics firm celebrating its 25th anniversary says he wants to encourage more young people into manufacturing.

S&S plastics has been based for the past 10 years at its Station Park HQ and has managed to emerge through the global recession to almost double its workforce in just nine months.

MD Richard Munyard puts this impressive performance down to careful management and a retaining a great team of key staff.

The company which started from a one-man operation in Ilkeston in 1989 now has workforce of 70 and a turnover of £4 million.

He told the Chad: “As of August last year we saw a distinct turnaround with more enquiries for new work and larger orders from our customer base.”

The firm which specialises in the design and manufacture of technical precision plastic injection moulding tools took on 27 new employees earlier this year.

Mr Munyard said: “We now employ more people than we did before the recession hit in 2008.”

Richard said the company managed to survive when the global recession hit by being astute financially and retaining a great team.

“It is a team effort - we employ some really good people.”

The firm has set on three apprentices, Jack Gent from Ashfield, Ryan Faulconbridge from Mansfield and Howard Harbour from Ilkeston - but still has problems recruiting young skilled workers.

Richard said when engineering jobs are advertised the necessary skills aren’t always on applicants CVs.

He said: “If some of the people applying to us for jobs had one or two weeks work experience it would certainly help them get an interview.

“We have to get school pupils interested in manufacturing as a career choice and I’d love to see youngsters from local schools get in touch with companies like ours, so they can visit and see how things are made and think towards their future.

“We obviously don’t have room for everyone but we could take two at a time.”

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero visited the company to mark its 25th anniversary.

She said: “It was great to visit a local company that is so passionate about helping more young people in the area choose a career in manufacturing.

“I’d love to see more people from Ashfield like Jack, go on to do apprenticeships at firms like S&S Plastics.

“The fact of the matter is there are not enough advanced, high quality apprenticeships available for school leavers - with four times as many going to university instead. This is leaving both young people and businesses without the skills they need to succeed for the future.”