Recruiter well on track to expand staff as the rail industry enjoys golden age
A specialist rail recruitment business has expanded its Derby office and is set to take on more staff thanks to the current boom in the industry.
Ford & Stanley has more than doubled the size of its base in Royal Scot Road, Pride Park, after buying the vacant unit next door.
The expansion has resulted in the firm increasing its floor space from 2,500 sq ft to 5,200 sq ft.
It is the second time in the space of 18 months that the business has doubled the size of its Derby office.
The extra space will accommodate more rail recruitment staff, which Ford & Stanley intends to take on next year.
The office currently employs 21 people - but the company hopes to grow this number to 28 in 2017.
And as part of its longer term plan, the firm hopes to eventually have a team of 48 people working at the Royal Scot Road office.
The reason behind such rapid expansion is the boom that is currently being experienced by the UK rail industry, particularly in rolling stock.
Around 80% of Ford & Stanley’s business is from rolling stock. The introduction of new fleets combined with the overhaul and refurbishment of existing rolling stock, means that demand for workers is high.
Ford and Stanley works with a number of manufacturers who have either established a UK presence, or are in the process of doing so.
Among its clients are Derby rail manufacturer Bombardier, as well as Hitachi and Siemens, who both have established manufacturing facilities across the UK.
The firm also supplies talent to firms that specialise in refitting and refreshing existing rolling stock, such as Wabtec.
As well as rolling stock, at present, the Government is investing heavily in major rail infrastructure projects, including electrification and station redevelopment.
Peter Schofield, Chairman at Ford & Stanley, said: “The UK rail industry at the moment is in the middle of a golden age.
“The demand for skilled workers has never been higher - and we have had to expand in order to keep pace with that growth.
“Derby has and always will be the best place for us because here we are at the very heart of the UK rail industry.
“We have been fortunate that space has become available in our existing building to allow us to grow.”
Traditionally, Ford & Stanley has specialised in sourcing white collar workers, from both the UK and abroad, to work in the British rail industry.
But following the launch of the company’s Talentwise brand, it has branched out into recruiting and training blue collar workers, to fill positions at places such as train maintenance depots.
Peter said: “We noticed a big gap in the market in terms of providing blue collar workers who have the training and skills to do their job from the first day they turn up at work.”
According to Peter, despite its excellent career prospects, not to mention salaries, it is still proving difficult to attract new blood into the rail industry.
Ford and Stanley is trying to do its bit after recently agreeing to partner with the University of Derby to offer internships to its students - and next year, the company will take up to four.
The firm has also partnered with one of its clients, Derby-based train leasing firm Porterbrook, to support of Derby City Council’s Enterprise for Education (E4E) programme.
E4E aims to improve the employability skills of young people within Derbyshire and the surrounding area.
The firm has presented at schools, colleges and universities – delivering CV workshops, interview techniques and providing one-to-one mentoring support.
At the same time, it has been promoting rail as an industry of choice to young people, explaining how to get into the industry and the opportunities available to them once they have finished their education.
Peter said: “A lot more still needs to be done to attract people into this industry. We hope that the university students who spend a year with us will not only go away with knowledge of the recruitment industry, but that their eyes will be opened to the possibilities that rail offers - and that they will, in a sense become ambassadors, for the industry.”
Article as recently featured in the Derby Telegraph Business Weekly, dated 02 November 2016.