Forth Future (6 New Jobs)
A WORLD-RENOWNED engineering company has used lockdown to accelerate its growth plans to help industry recover when restrictions ease.
UK-based Forth Engineering is known for providing world-first solutions to industrial challenges all around the globe.
The Cumbrian-based company, with bases in Maryport, Cleator Moor, and Barrow, moved to remote working during the lockdown. But while some companies have scaled back their operations, Forth has fast-tracked its expansion plans ready to come back even stronger. Forth is building three new offices at its headquarters at Maryport, doubling the size of
its retail space at its trade counter, making more use of its 68,000 square-feet base in Cleator Moor as an innovation hub, and recruiting six new members of staff – four mechanical/electrical engineers and two design engineers.
Forth’s managing director Mark Telford said: “The lockdown has given us time to reflect and look at our business and it has concentrated our minds on what areas to focus on
so we come out of the other side leaner and even stronger.
“We have been planning for how our sites will operate, in line with social distancing regulations, when they reopen as restrictions are eased.
“We are ready to be first in the queue to provide solutions when a range of different industries come to us with their problems.
“We are carrying out a refurbishment of our offices at the Maryport site and making a significant investment to build three new offices.
“We are also extending the trade counter to open up the first floor – effectively doubling the size of the retail space – so that we can stock PPE and other items which businesses are telling us they need.”
The new offices, approximately 20,000 square feet in total, are on the Maryport site’s existing footprint, where its former trade counter was situated.
It’s all part of a £150,000 investment to help Forth achieve social distancing, which also involves utilising the company’s Cleator Moor base as a hub for product development
and innovation, where world-first products like its pioneering FSWbot will be developed. Mark said: “We are looking to spread our people around our sites more to ensure social
distancing. We are considering our innovation side of the business being based at Cleator Moor. It’s that technical side of the business which we need to get moving again.
“All these steps we are taking now, and have been taking, are about adapting our business to the new ways of working.
“It means that as soon as customers reopen, in whatever industry that might be, we have already made our changes and are ready to help them.”
Forth has been active on a range of fronts during lockdown – developing new products in the fight against COVID-19, supplying vital equipment to help hospitals, care homes
and businesses, making important donations and bringing some much-needed cheer to communities.
A disinfecting robot developed by Forth during lockdown has now gone into production at its Maryport base. Forth has already sold eight of its disinfecting cannons to industries preparing their sites to welcome back workers as lockdown eases.
Its other recent projects include working to develop a world-first Friction Stir Welding Robotic Crawler (FSWbot) for internal repair and refurbishment of pipelines which can be used by a range of industries without having to stop production.
It has also recently worked with partners on developing the pioneering Hullguard system of protecting floating offshore installations from corrosion without using divers which has
been successfully deployed for the first time in the UK North Sea.
Forth has also sourced a further 12,000 items of PPE – on top of 6,000 gowns and 6,000 masks it had already supplied – to be donated to West Cumberland Hospital, and local care homes after members of Unite, GMB, and Prospect unions at Sellafield raised £30,000 in a community fundraising campaign.
Members of Forth’s own staff have also donated and delivered more than 2,000 masks to Workington and Millom Community Hospitals as well as to community nursing teams in the rest of the area.
Forth has also provided support to a local volunteer group who have been sewing and making scrubs for NHS staff and other front line carers across Cumbria and beyond.
It has given up its office space at its Cleator Moor base for free to charity organisation Scrub Hub North West which delivers to local hospitals and volunteers’ homes.
Forth, along with Mossop Construction Services and a host of other businesses, also set up fundraising “Appreciation Tour” in aid of local health and care workers around Frizington, Cleator Moor, Wath Brow, Cleator, Egremont, and Bigrigg, with lights flashing, drivers waving and horns honking to bring some positivity to the community.
Mark said: “We’ve supported the fundraising convoy to raise money for PPE for healthcare staff who are doing such an amazing job at West Cumberland Hospital and local care homes and to help lift people’s spirits.
“We had people tell us that it was the first time they came out onto their doorstep and that it really cheered them up. Everyone respected the social distancing rules and we just wanted to help bring some positivity to the area and raise money for PPE for healthcare workers at West Cumberland Hospital and local care homes.”
The “Appreciation Tour”, which has now concluded, set out to raise £1,000 and with donations still coming in has already raised more than £6,000. More details are available at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/appreciationtour