Investment in high level skills training and state of the art equipment is paying dividends for MTL.
“We are able to attract quite a few employees with the right skills, but it is getting more difficult to find CNC machinists and good quality welders,” says managing director, Dr Henry Shirman.
“We have an apprenticeship programme, with Brinsworth Training, and we are linking in to adult education programmes on the Hire a Hero programme for ex-service people. We work with a couple of technical colleges as well.
“When I bought the business in 2006, we had probably less than a dozen welders. It was a very small part of the business and we have grown that significantly.
“We have trained our people to a very high level. They are qualified for welding safety-critical fabrications and also for welding offshore fabrications, specifically – very high strength welding, approved by Lloyds of London.”
MTL has invested heavily in cutting and bending machines with support from bankers Lloyds and, most recently, with the backing of a Department of Energy and Climate Change grant, designed to build up the UK supply chain for wind energy projects.
“We have been very well supported by the bank,” says Dr Shirman. “The Bank of Scotland was taken over by Lloyds Bank, so we had to re-explain our business but Lloyds have been very supportive and they have continued to help us to grow the business.”
That support included Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets in Sheffield providing £5 million towards MTL’s move to Brinsworth.
MTL boasts the largest water jet cutting machine in the UK, the largest twin head bevel plasma cutter and the largest bevel laser of any UK subcontractor – one of just three in the UK, the other two being at Caterpillar’s Peterlee plant.
As part of the move, MTL used its design and manufacturing skills to develop its own plasma tube cutter.