Velocity Composites Burnley

THE aerospace industry is very much alive and well across East Lancashire.

This engineering firm uses novel solutions to focus on reducing waste in the rapidly growing composite civil and military aerospace industry, specifically in the manufacture of carbon fibre parts.

Velocity primarily provides customers with kits which enable them to manufacture complex parts as efficiently as possible by removing non-value added activities and material waste from their production areas.

They work with most of the major North West aerospace giants, including Aircelle, BAE Systems and Kaman Composites, as well as national and international firms such as GKN, GE and Bombardier.

The Airbus A330, A350, A380, Eurofighter Typhoon, F35 Joint Strike Fighter, Bell Boeing V22 Osprey and Bombardier C-Series aircraft all use parts manufactured using Velocity’s kits.

The firm was established six years ago by three career composite engineers who identified a need for the industry to be more efficient to cope with the massive composite materials growth in the aerospace sector.

Director Gerard Johnson said: “Starting from nothing we have outgrown our previous two facilities and have recently relocated to the Burnley area into a purpose-built and designed centre.

“We plan to continue our steady growth by investing in our people, both new and existing, improving processes and expanding facilities.”

Mr Johnson said the firm was continuing to grow at a rapid rate.

He said: “Over the last 12 months we have invested more than £500,000 in the latest technology and equipment while expanding our engineering and production staff, which were predominantly sourced from the local area. Employment has risen in the last 12 months from 28 to 56 personnel and this is set to increase to more than 70 by year-end.”

Mr Johnson said the firm was identifying new high tech industries and markets which it could move into.

He said: “We are now looking to expand our facilities in Burnley and for research and development opportunities in the wind energy and unmanned aerial vehicle sectors.”

Teal Healthcare Blackburn

A ‘COMPLETE cultural change’ has been going on behind the doors of a Lower Darwen business.

Paul Goodhall, managing director of Teal HealthCare in Branch Road, has led his team to achieve an NVQ level two during the past 12 months.

Founded in 1975, the company was acquired in 2009 by Senator International and was relocated from Stokenchurch to Lower Darwen in 2011.

At that point the business supplied the NHS with wooden seating but it has since changed tack and recruited a new management team and workforce.

Teal HealthCare now manufactures and supplies specialist seating and ward furniture to the NHS and private hospitals with an aim to help combat infections. It also provides specialist life care solutions for mental health and dementia facilities.

The company’s sales are up 30 per cent this year compared to the previous 12 months and new export markets have been opened up in countries like Holland, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. It has also added four employees since 2012.

In 2012, the company turned over £7million and gained £286,000 in pre-tax profit. The previous year the turnover was £5.4million, with a pre-tax profit of £92,000.

Paul Goodall said: “What we have aimed for is a complete cultural change within the business. We hoped that because of the changes that we have made over the last year, that it might have an effect on the industry as a whole.

“We have upskilled a lot of people in the company and promoted them as a result.

“I think that’s very important and it’s great to allow people within your business to try and better their careers.

“In order to get on and improve the business in this day and age we have had to do a lot of work with our staff and been quite innovative with our work. I believe that winning this award would reflect all of the hard work that my staff have put in over the last year and I hope we are recognised.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved and we have had to be quite creative in the way that we have tried to move the industry forward.

“Eighteen months ago we reviewed our strategic product plans with a vision of creating world-beating innovative designs.”

Connect Childcare Burnley

CONNECT Childcare is leading innovation in the childcare industry from right here in East Lancashire.

CEO Chris Reid developed the idea for his innovative child development software after seeing a similar software package developed for the dental market.

He saw a gap in the market for technology that allowed those in the childcare industry to manage nurseries on one system: Holding a staff database, storing children’s records, and generating bills in one place.

The software is the only product of its kind on the market, and is used in 600 nurseries across the country, in both the public and private sectors.

It cuts out between half and two-thirds of the form filling process for staff, and instead offers simple button clicks to mark when a child is at a certain level of development.

The software was adapted in line with the government’s ‘Every Child Matters’ initiative, which was launched in 2002 to ensure better joined-up working between different agencies that work with children.

And as the legislation evolves, so does Connect’s product.

When Mr Reid became a father his experience of parenting helped him to develop the innovative social media aspect of the software.

Parents can access a Facebook-style timeline, which gives them an up-to-date record of their child’s development, right at their fingertips.

It also stores photographs to capture a child’s movement, artwork and behaviour.

Mr Reid said: “I’ve got two children who are five and two now, and I know how I would like to be engaged with as a parent.

“The government has ‘Parents as Partners’ – a big push to try and engage parents and nurseries, and we support that, it ticks a lot of boxes.

“What we’ve created is sort of a social network between parents and the nursery. A child will exhibit different characteristics at home and at nursery and we’re trying to get parental feedback to help nursery practitioners to create activities that the child likes, and help the child’s overall development.”

“It also helps parents to catch up on what their children have been doing through the day – so much happens at nursery. And we can look back at what children were doing at different stages of development – we only remember children as they are now, and they grow up so fast.”