Mobility equipment and stair lift supplier Handicare has been visited by a number of local dignitaries who met with its newest recruits, who form part of the company’s strategy to ensure its skills are not lost and it can continue to drive product innovation.
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council met apprentices and undergraduates alongside Clare Brophy, Handicare’s UK managing director, who outlined the need to attract and keep “the very best people in our industry”, to support the supplier’s ambitions to grow the UK business.
Handicare’s strategy for the future of the company involves working with one of the UK’s leading organisers of paid student work placements and graduate internships, Step, to identify young talent.
Last year, the company welcomed its first design interns and a graduate production engineer to the team at Kingswinsford.
In addition, a new apprenticeship programme has also seen two new recruits, Callum Gilbraith and Hayden Casey, join the company to get their first experience of working in a factory. Both spend one day a week learning business theory at nearby LEMA Academy and the rest of the time getting to know the different roles and departments within Handicare.
Handicare’s operations director Richard Whitehouse said that Handicare has identified a need to plan for the future as he believes skills are becoming scarcer. He revealed that the company is now increasing its investment in training, both for existing employees and also new talent.
Whitehouse said: “The apprentices fit into this framework as we want to make sure we have a depth of skill available at all levels in the business. Callum and Hayden are very much part of this strategy.
“We have a planned programme for them that will include assignments within R&D, and maintenance functions while at the moment they’re getting their hands dirty working with the production team to grow both their understanding of the products and the business as a whole.
“I have no doubt that this is the right thing for Handicare to be doing now and in the years to come as our business continues to grow and develop, making sure we have the skills and abilities for the future.”
Handicare employs 189 people at its manufacturing site based on the Pensnett Estate, where it manufactures straight and curved stairlifts as well as transfer, lifting and repositioning aids used in private homes as well as hospitals and care homes. Handicare also delivers disabled adaptations on behalf of a number of local councils in England, Wales and Scotland.
The company enjoyed an “intense period” of external audits at the end of last year. The site is the first in the Handicare Group to achieve accreditations for upgrading to the new quality standard (ISO9001:2015), obtaining the new environmental standard (ISO14001:2015) and to maintain the health and safety (OHSAS 18001) standard.