Suffolk-based manufacturer Claydon is warning that difficulties in recruiting additional staff could threaten its ability to meet strong demand from domestic and export markets in 2022.
The company is currently looking to fill a variety of full-time roles, including welders, a stores person, spray painter, enterprise resource planning coordinator, spare parts coordinator and design engineer.
“During 2021, we celebrated 40 years in business and, despite unprecedented challenges caused by the global pandemic, managed to increase our sales by 50 per cent compared with the previous year, a huge achievement,” Jeff Claydon, the company’s CEO, said. “Currently, we are on track to achieve the same percentage growth in 2022 due to the popularity of Claydon Opti-Till® products. Approximately 60 per cent of our production is exported to 33 countries, from Europe to New Zealand, bringing much-needed income into the UK and local economies.
“Currently, we have a full order book and are in the process of constructing a new purpose-built assembly hall to boost manufacturing capacity at our factory in Wickhambrook. This is scheduled to come on stream in the spring and will be used to assemble all our products, including the new range of Claydon Evolution mounted drills that have just been launched.
“Demand for our products is increasing substantially because the Claydon Opti-Till® System provides significant opportunities to save fuel, labour, and money as well as improve timeliness. There are also substantial environmental benefits in using the Claydon system: improved soil health, lower carbon emissions, carbon capture and reduced soil erosion. These are particularly relevant given the direction set by the recent COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the likely future requirements of the Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) for farmers and the new capital grant structure in England.
“Our key priority going into 2022 is to substantially expand the workforce by recruiting additional staff across all areas of the business. However, our ability to do so is threatened by the current shortage of labour. Claydon is a very successful British company that provides a great place to work, additional benefits and excellent opportunities for career progression and training, both for those with experience and those just starting their working lives.
“Despite this, it is increasingly difficult to attract staff and we are now considering offering help with visas for overseas workers to come to the UK. We have customers across the world, and this is also reflected in our team at Claydon, with staff members hailing from the UK along with countries such as South Africa, Poland, Hungary, Portugal, Thailand, Moldova, Latvia, and Ireland.
“Currently, great uncertainties exist in the domestic and global economies, so the UK cannot go on living on borrowed money as has been the case for so long. The country must get back to having a strong manufacturing base that generates real products and real wealth.
“To further increase our own manufacturing capacity, Claydon is also looking to forge additional partnerships and build long-term relationships with other local companies providing high-quality engineering services, which will help to improve the prosperity of local businesses, families and the wider economy.”