‘Marie Celeste’ fear as firm fails to hire

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Bosses at a window firm fear a £300,000 new production line could end up like the ‘Marie Celeste’ because they can’t find staff to work in it.

Building Product Solutions advertised six jobs in October, two fitters and four staff to work on a new glazing line which opens in February.

But despite advertising “everywhere” only one fitter has been hired.

Sales director Lynne Darwin said: “We will get this thing completed and it will be like the Marie Celeste.

“We are doing all we can but unfortunately no one is coming forward.

“We are having to look in-house to train people up. But it’s the experience we are looking for.

“Until we started looking we didn’t understand what was meant by a skills shortage. Now we do.

“We have had quite a lot of help through Barnsley Development Agency and the JobCentre, we have advertised and the jobs are on our website. But it’s just not happening.”

The firm, based in Goldthorpe, Rotherham, received a £79,000 grant from the Regional Growth Fund, which requires new jobs to be created.

BPS already makes windows and doors but buys sealed glass units in from Manchester. The new line will make it ‘self sufficient’.

Managing director Ian Harrison said: “It’s an exciting time to join our growing team, we’re expanding the premises, investing heavily in marketing and PR, and securing sizable contracts, yet we’re still struggling to fill these excellent positions.

“If our industry can’t keep pace with the construction industry, it could affect the UK economy as a whole.”

BPS has £7.5 million worth of jobs on its books after winning long-term contracts to supply major housing developers such as Taylor Wimpey, Gleeson, Persimmon and Redrow Homes.