UKSE

A Caerphilly firm supported by UK Steel Enterprise is showing that the traditional engineering skills of the Valleys are still in high demand.

JR Gilbert has seen turnover increase threefold in the last three years – and this was recognised with a major accolade at the latest Caerphilly Business Forum Awards.

The firm took the coveted Small Business of the Year Award against stiff opposition, and Director Nick Robbins is delighted.

“We have made excellent progress since the Management Buy-In five years ago, and our investment in the business is now paying dividends,” he said. “We are very pleased to have received the award, recognising the hard work put in by the whole workforce.”

An important factor in winning the award was the expansion of the workforce to 33 – up from 19 three years ago – as well as JR Gilbert’s apprenticeship scheme which is passing skills on to the new generation.

As well as increasing the workforce, the firm has invested £300,000 in four new CNC machines to complement the existing equipment they inherited from the original business in 2012.

Turnover has risen from £500,000 to £1.5 million in the last three years and the company now has ambitious plans for further growth.

Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise has played an important role in the supporting the company during the 2012 Buy-In, and continues to work with them.

“They have been great, and given us a lot of help along the way. Without them things would have been undoubtedly more difficult,” commented Mr Robbins.

Glyn Thomas, UK Steel Enterprise Area Manager in Wales added: “We were very pleased to invest in JR Gilbert when the new management team took over and delighted at their success. This award is confirmation of what we already knew – that they are a skilled business providing excellent service to their clients and helping to preserve the engineering skills for which the Valleys were once famous.”

JR Gilbert is a long-standing business in the Valleys. The company was founded in 1984 when John Gilbert bought the machinery of a local family engineering company.

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