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Steelite holds open day as it looks to take on hundreds of additional workers

2 June 2014

CERAMICS manufacturer Steelite International is launching a recruitment drive to fill hundreds of vacancies being created with the expansion of its factory.

Dozens of positions are already being advertised as the Middleport tableware specialist moves into weekend working to meet demand from customers.

And as the development of a new production unit to increase capacity at the site forges ahead, Steelite said it will be looking to bolster its current 1,000-strong workforce even further.

The 2,000 sq metre (22,000 sq ft) extension will initially result in more than 60 additional jobs, while there are plans for more expansion works following the purchase of council-owned land around the site. The company's long-term plans will result in the creation of more than 200 jobs.

Wendy Dean, group human resources director, said Steelite prides itself on not just providing jobs, but offering staff a structured career path.

She urged people of all backgrounds and ability to attend the open day on June 11.

She said: "People could come to us with no qualifications and eventually end up working towards an MBA.

"It doesn't matter to us if people haven't got the skills or experience in the first place – we will train them up.

"The expansion will also enable us to take on more apprentices, who we believe have a very important role to play in the future of the business.

"There's been a very clear shift from people coming into the industry because their family have always worked in the potteries, to young people leaving school and making a specific decision about the type of job they want to do. We have to make sure we are an employer of choice.

"We are a world-class manufacturer and can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of JCB."

For the fourth year running, Steelite broke its turnover record, with sales of £89.6 million in 2013. Pre-tax profits stood at £8.4 million for the year, up by 17 per cent on the previous year.

Decorating manager Julie Smith, from Sneyd Green, has already seen her team grow from 30 to 72 people, with immediate vacancies available for about another 10 employees, from kiln operatives to hand sponge decorators.

Julie, who has worked at the factory for 20 years, said: "To keep up with demand, we have had to move into Saturday and Sunday shifts. 

"The decorating department has seen major changes, which will act as a blueprint for other parts of the factory.

"Seven years ago we were looking at redundancies and short time working and morale was really low. Now things are booming."

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