An open letter to schools, parents and young people

Frustrated by the lack of young people joining the manufacturing and engineering sector when they leave school, Jason Lippitt, managing director of Blachford UK has written an open letter to north east Derbyshire’s schools and young people.   As the managing director of a leading European manufacturer of acoustic and thermal insulation components , he shares his frustrations in this open letter over the disconnect between education and the manufacturing sector. He believes this is damaging both industry in the UK and young people’s workplace potential.

‘It may come as a surprise to young people and their teachers, but it’s not A grades or first-class degrees that are top of the list for many employers. I want to employ young people who have a strong work ethic, initiative and a desire to learn and get on and, I want to give them apprenticeships.

I run a successful manufacturing company in Chesterfield, but I rarely get speculative approaches from young people enquiring about apprenticeship opportunities. I know that Blachford is not alone in this.  This is why I am calling on all schools to position apprenticeships as golden opportunities for careers with all their pupils, regardless of how they perform academically.   Apprenticeships give young people both the qualifications and a head start on the career ladder. Better still, they are university debt free. With the right attitude there are no boundaries to career potential, particularly in the manufacturing sector.   Give me a young person who is keen to learn and progress, and I will ensure the Company invests heavily in their future. I will put them on the right apprenticeship path for them and happily fund their degree if that is what they choose.

Driven by the current skills shortage, the career opportunities for young people in the manufacturing and engineering sector are limitless.
There’s a current shortfall of 173,000 skilled workers as 89% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) businesses struggle to recruit. The situation is getting worse as, with Brexit on the horizon, new STEM roles are expected to double in the next 10 years. We need school leavers now to fill these roles. These school leavers are the senior engineers, managing directors and business leaders of the future.

Schools, young people and companies in the STEM sector must talk to each other. Until then, neither the sector nor many young people in this country will reach their true potential.
If we do not collectively encourage young people to consider apprenticeships alongside A levels and university, we are risking the country’s economy. The engineering sector alone contributes more than a quarter of the UK’s total GDP. This figure is likely to rise in the face of Brexit however, with a skills shortage this sector cannot perform to its potential.
The lack of young people entering the STEM sector when they leave school is also, I believe, down to an outdated view the nation has of jobs in engineering and manufacturing. Jobs in these sectors were traditionally seen being dirty and hard. Thanks to technology, times have changed. The use of technology has also opened up more exciting and progressive career opportunities which are often hidden from view.

Walk around manufacturing and engineering companies today and the shop floor is only a small part of the business. Behind Blachford’s shop floor, we have laboratories, engineering workshops, IT, an international sales team, HR and finance departments – all offering a variety of roles for aspiring young people.
Don’t expect jobs like this to find you though. An internet search on a jobs’ website will not always reveal opportunities like this. You have to create them. Convince MDs like me that you could be their next employee. Be proactive and start with that speculative letter or email. I promise you it will open doors.

If you’re the parent, friend, teacher or relation of a young job seeker, I urge you to share this letter with them. I believe that in life we make our own opportunities and a career is no different.’

Jason Lippitt
Managing Director
Blachford UK

Join our Team

We are looking for a dynamic individuals to join our Team.

 

 

 

 

 

Current vacancies within the UK business are:-
Quality Engineer (Position now filled)
Tooling Technician
Planning & Logistics Manager (Position now filled)
Apprentices (various departments)

For full job spec please register your interest on the form below:

Employment

Job Role Interest

Blachford UK sponsors 2019 Redbrik Half Marathon Fun Run

Blachford employees put on their running shoes

Local manufacturer and employer, Blachford UK has confirmed its sponsorship of the 1km Fun Run at the Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon for the second year running.
The family-friendly Blachford Fun Run will form part of the Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon events on 20 October 2019, along with the Peak FM Five Mile Run and Pronto Paints Wellbeing Challenge. The Fun Run will be open to people of all ages – and dogs!
Starting at 9.40am, the Fun Run will start and end in Queen’s Park, with entry priced at £5.
Based in Holmewood, Blachford UK is one of Europe’s leading designers and manufacturers of noise reducing trim and insulation for industrial vehicles.
In addition to its sponsorship of the Fun Run, the firm will enter its own team into the event, as well as the Pronto Paints Wellbeing Challenge, Peak FM Five Mile Run and Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon, to help raise money for local good causes.
Around 1,500 people signed up to Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon events in 2018, almost double the sign-up total from the previous year.
The Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon has raised around £100,000 for good causes since its inaugural event in 2017, including for the event’s charity partners Ashgate Hospicecare and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Jason Lippitt, Managing Director of Blachford UK, said: “It’s a great honour to be part of the fundraising efforts to support local charities. Many of our staff live in Chesterfield so this is a great way for us to contribute to and get involved with the wider community.
“Many of the Blachford team are, once again, looking forward to pulling on their running shoes and taking part in all of the Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon’s events, and to help raise more money for charity.”
Martin Ross, who took part in the 2018 Blachford UK Fun Run with his five-year-old grandson, said: “The 1km event last year was great fun and a good addition to the Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon events.
“I’m looking forward to taking part again in 2019 and seeing the Fun Run help the Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon continue to grow into one of the region’s biggest mass-participation events. I’m sure my grandson will beat me again!”
John Timms, Event Director at Redbrik Chesterfield Half Marathon, said: “We’re delighted to have Blachford UK on board for 2019 after the success of the 2018 Blachford UK Fun Run.
“Partnerships with local businesses such as Blachford are crucial to us as one of the region’s fastest-expanding mass-participation events. The firm has good community roots and we’re excited to see this partnership continue to develop.”

Entries close to the Blachford Fun Run close online on Sunday 6 October, however entries will also be taken on race day before 9am. For more information or to sign-up, visit https://www.redbrikchesterfieldhalf.com/.

Blachford UK appoints new NPI Project Manager

Blachford UK has appointed experienced project manager, Patrick O’Donnell to its management team.
Patrick joins the Chesterfield-based manufacturer of acoustic components for industrial and agricultural vehicles, as its NPI Project Manager.
Within his new role at Blachford, Patrick will be responsible for managing the implementation of all new products into the company. The newly created role is aligned to the company’s world class ambitions.
He brings an automotive engineering background to the role, having previously worked for a number of international vehicle technology companies. Having began his career as a CNC machinist before progressing to a design manufacturing engineer role, Patrick brings extensive shop floor and project management experience to the role.
He credits his career progression and personal learning, which began with an apprenticeship, with giving him a wider understanding and appreciation of the processes and roles of individuals involved
Commenting on his appointment Patrick said: “The opportunity to take a hands-on approach and be part of Blachford’s growth, development and industry innovation, not only attracted me to the role but also to the company.”
He added: “People are key to the success of Blachford and one of the reasons that the company is internationally renowned for innovation in the field of vehicle acoustics. I am delighted to now be part of the team.”
Outside work Patrick enjoys football, being a Sheffield United season ticket holder as well as managing his sons Under 8s football team, Woodhouse Juniors FC.
If you’re interested in becoming part of the Blachford UK team, contact us through our website.

Job Vacancies – Join our Team

We are looking for a dynamic individuals to join our Team.

Current vacancies within the UK business are:-

Quality Engineer (Position now filled)

Tooling Technician

Planning & Logistics Manager (Position now filled)

Apprentices (various departments)

Please register your interest on the form below:

**** STRICTLY NO AGENCIES PLEASE ****

Employment

Job Role Interest

Blachford Vice President to present at Industrial Vehicle Cab Design & Technology Conference

Blachford Acoustics Group’s Vice President of Research and Development, Charles Moritz, will be speaking at the IVT Industrial Vehicle Cab Design & Technology Conference at the IVT Expo 2019.

With a Master’s degree in Acoustics as well as being a member of the board of directors of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering, and a US board-certified noise control engineer, Chicago-based Charles is one of the industry’s foremost acoustic experts regularly called on to present at international industry events.

The Industrial Vehicle Cab Design & Technology Conference is dedicated to next-generation cabin design and future technologies for industrial, commercial and off-highway vehicles.

The brand new conference for 2019 is hotly anticipated and expected to be a popular addition to the Expo.

Speaking from 11.45am – 12.15pm on Thursday 14 February at the conference, Charles’ presentation – Demystifying Cab Acoustical Material Selection – seeks to cut through industry jargon and give an overview of the various types of in-cab acoustic treatments, such as headliners, floormats, damping and other insulation. More importantly, he’ll be discussing what works and what doesn’t.

As part of his presentation he will share the basic acoustical formulas and material properties used by the industry to develop and optimise acoustical cab treatments for enhanced vehicle aesthetics, driver comfort and safety.

His appearance at the IVT Expo 2019 follows on from InterNoise 2018. Held in Chicago last August, Charles was the Conference President for the 47th International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering which was attended by more than 1000 people from over 40 countries.

As well as presenting, Charles will also be moderating at the two-day conference, being held in Congresaal 2 at Koln Messe.

He joins fellow moderators Tom Stone, editor of IVT International magazine, Michael Jendis Executive Director – mechanical engineering, electronics and project management at Preh GmbH and Alexandra Hermann, Director of Marketing and Communications at Fritzmeier CABS, during the two-day conference at the Expo.

In his role of moderator, Charles will introduce presentations from industry professionals, including Dr Kayhan Caliskan Design and prototype manager at Yaris Kabin, and Jonas Stallmeister Senior visual designer at Centigrade GmbH.

As well as presenting and moderating, Charles will also join Blachford on its stand in the main exhibitors’ hall at the IVT Expo 2019.  Charles will also be joining colleagues from Blachford UK who will be showcasing the latest technologies in polyurethane and elastomer acoustic barrier technology on stand 3010 at the show.

Charles Moritz Vice President R&D to deliver talk at IVT Cologne

 

Charles Moritz – Vice President R&D to deliver talk at IVT Expo Cologne

For updates throughout the ITV Expo, follow Blachford UK on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BlachfordAcoustics/ or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/blachford-inc-/ List Tabl

Blachford team set to unveil latest enhancements in acoustic barrier technology at IVT Expo 2019

The Blachford UK team is all set to greet thousands of visitors at the IVT Expo 2019 being held at Koln Messe in Cologne, Germany, from 13 – 14 February 2019.

Organised by Industrial Vehicle Technology magazine, this is the first international exhibition to bring together the industrial vehicle industry and showcases the latest and next-generation components and technologies all under one roof.

Located on stand 3010, the Blachford UK team will be unveiling a number of new technologies in polyurethane and elastomer acoustic barrier technology at the show.

Developed in-house by Blachford’s own chemist Dr Ken Kendall, five brand new acoustic and thermal applications for industrial vehicles will be showcased at the Expo by Blachford, including:

  • Anti-scratch floor mats
  • Two colour floor mats
  • Polyethylene film floor mat protector
  • Embedding of electronics
  • Lightweight foam floormats for fork lift trucks

Jason Lippit, Managing Director of Blachford UK will be attending IVT Expo with Blachford’s Sales Director and Technical Directors, Patrick Thompson and Dr Ken Kendall respectively.

Jason commented: “As a leading UK designer, engineer and manufacturer of acoustic components for industrial and agricultural vehicles, we are delighted to bring these new technologies to the IVT Expo. The applications have all been developed following feedback from the customers of vehicle manufacturers. We are confident our latest floor mat enhancements will add value to vehicles.”

Alongside the new floor mat technologies being unveiled at the Expo, Blachford will be showcasing its full range of polyurethane and acoustic products.

Jason explained: “Although there are no full vehicles allowed at the show, we have developed our own display frame to show the range of solutions we produce at Blachford which are designed to deliver the best possible cab acoustic performance.”

For updates throughout the ITV Expo, follow Blachford UK on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BlachfordAcoustics/ or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/blachford-inc-/

Blachford UK – Why we are unique in our industry

We believe Blachford Acoustics is unique in the industry. Why? Because we have our own in-house research and development team led by renowned chemist Dr Ken Kendall.

Our speciality lies in vehicular sound proofing – agricultural, construction and earth-moving (ACE) vehicles in particular. It is through Ken’s extensive knowledge of polyurethane (PU or PUR), however that Blachford is able to develop world-leading turnkey acoustic solutions for vehicle manufacturers.

By having our own dedicated research and development team on site at our headquarters in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, we are able to respond quickly to customer needs. Additionally, Blachford is able to push boundaries, innovate and develop products and technology that manufacturers can adopt to further enhance the acoustic properties of their vehicles.  

Ken has a passion for polyurethane that stretches back (no pun intended) more than 30 years.

His love affair with polymers began in 1977 at The University of Manchester where he read Chemistry before going on to achieve a PhD in Polymer Science in 1983. Since then he has worked in a number of leading global laboratories which specialise in polyurethane foams and elastomers, honing his knowledge and experience in these materials.

It was through his work with one employer, that Ken was instrumental in the development of ground-breaking shock absorption materials for sports people, including knee pads for the Canadian Ski Team for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. That year the team secured two gold and silver medals.

By his own admission it is the ‘versatility’ of PU that fascinates Ken. He said: “You can do almost anything with polyurethane. The urethane link is a very defined sequence of atoms. Between that sequence of atoms there are all kind of chemicals you can add and that’s what gives you the versatility of urethane. It’s a tremendously exciting material to work with.”

Born and bred in Redditch, a town known for manufacturing, Dr Kendall has always been interested in science.

Although he joined Blachford UK as its Technical Director in 2016, his relationship with the business goes back to 2012. He previously worked with Jason Lippitt, Managing Director of Blachford Acoustics Group UK and it was he who enticed Ken to join the business as its Technical Director as part of Blachford’s World Class journey.

Ken’s long career in the industry means he has also developed relationships with important suppliers of key materials within the PU industry, giving him easy access to a myriad of chemicals which has assisted Blachford’s capability in developing new products.

He added: “I am very lucky to work for a company that is outward looking and wants to innovate. Having the freedom to experiment means the team and I can develop products for customers more quickly than our competitors and also enables us to innovate beyond client specifications.”

Embodying Blachford’s forward thinking approach, Ken will shortly be showcasing a number of innovations in vehicle acoustics that he and his team have developed at the 2019 IVT Expo being held in Cologne, Germany.

Products being unveiled at the Expo include floor mats with sensitive electronics embedded within them, anti-scratch and foam floor mats, protective polyethylene films and two-colour floor mats.

Being able to bring five new technologies to market at once is testament to not only Dr Ken’s expertise but also the fact Blachford has an in-house lab and its own dedicated research and development team.

On-site experts like Dr Ken, are enabling Blachford to not only stand out but lead in the field of developing and manufacturing acoustic and thermal insulation components.

If you’re visiting the IVT Expo 2019, find Ken and the Blachford Acoustics team in Hall 11 on stand 3010.

To find out more about how Blachford Acoustics’ pioneering research and development team can help your business, contact us.

 

Dr Ken Kendall

An award-winning year of growth & expansion at Blachford UK

We’ve enjoyed a year of success and celebration at Blachford UK. From the official Blachford Fun Run, to new appointments, awards and graduations it’s been a busy year in both the UK & US and we’re pleased to share a round-up of it here:

January – January’s success was a hint at the year Blachford UK was about to have. Our Key Accounts Manager, Sian Hinds, represented the company at Kubota – accepting the Bronze Supplier of the Year award for our involvement and support during the F37 Plus project development (a new tractor launched this November).

February – Saw our first new appointment of the year – Mick Cottam. Mick re-joined Blachford UK’s Sales Team bringing an abundance of technical ability with him.

March – Blachford Inc. was honoured to accept the Caterpillar Platinum Supplier status award for the third year running. 40 years’ of experience and fine tuning has allowed us to work our way up from Bronze all the way to the highest level of certification with some of the strictest criteria.

April – Just four months into the year and we were already accepting our third prestigious award. For the second year running we were awarded the PACCAR 10PPM award which recognises the efficiency of our manufacturing process and the accuracy of our products by recognising that just 10 parts in every million do not meet our high quality control standards.

May – We supported Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice by sending them several items from their Amazon Wish List to help them continue to create special moments for the children, young adults and families who visit them. We’ve worked with Bluebell Wood for some years now and we’ve seen the incredible work the team do to help families through one of the most difficult times in their lives. It costs £4 million a year to keep their doors open and besides the 10% statutory government funding, the rest is brought in by the amazing work the supporters do.

June – Not only was our very own Finance Director, Laura Bawden shortlisted for the Yorkshire Finance Leaders Business Awards but Blachford UK was also honoured with Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) Master of Quality Award thanks to the efforts and consistency of every employee meeting and exceeding Daimler’s strict guidelines.

July – We opened our doors to a year 10 pupil from Tupton Hall School, Sam. It wasn’t any old work experience though, Sam got to enjoy days in the research and development lab as well as experience a trip to one of Blachford UK’s most prestigious clients.

August – Blachford UK welcomed a new Operations Director, Stephen Hutt. Stephen joined the team challenged with the task of creating more capacity for growth. He has brought more than 30 years’ experience within the chemical industry to the role, including 10 years working at senior levels in both engineering and process roles.

September-During 2018’s hot summer, Blachford UK invested in some branded water bottles to help keep the team cool and hydrated. We also decided to donate some of the water bottles to local primary schools, Hunloke Park Primary, Heath Primary and St Joseph’s Primary.

October – Blachford UK’s multi-talented HR Advisor, Cohan Beatson was awarded her Level 5 in Human Resources at Chesterfield College’s graduation ceremony held at Chesterfield’s luxury hotel, Casa. Blachford UK also continued its charitable theme of 2018 sponsoring the Blachford UK Fun Run which supported Chesterfield’s Half Marathon to raise money again for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

November – Blachford UK welcomed automotive engineering expert, Patrick O’Donnell, as our NPI (New Product Introduction) Project Manager, he is responsible for efficient management of new projects from costing to design and implementation.

December – Blachford UK’s festivities began! In December the team celebrated Christmas Jumper Day in their best festive outfits to raise money for Save the Children. There was plenty of mince pies and lots of Christmas spirit – enjoying ourselves as well as helping others less fortunate. Sounds like Christmas to Blachford UK.

Wishing all of our staff and customers a very Happy Christmas and here’s to an equally successful 2019.

Blachford recognises Community Contribution at the 2018 Derbyshire Times Business Awards

Blachford UK Managing Director Jason Lippit was delighted to present Less Than Zero Barbers on Sheffield Road in Chesterfield, with the Community Contribution Award at the recent 2018 Derbyshire Times Business Awards.
Commenting on the award win, which was sponsored by Blachford UK, Martin Keyworth owner of Less than Zero Barbers said: “I am still in awe. I was gobsmacked when our name was called out at the awards. When we set up the business less than two years ago, we wanted it to be a true community barbers shop and this award recognises that we have created that.”
The award recognised Less Than Zero’s commitment to corporate social responsibility by improving the lives of local people, through working activities into the day-to-day running of the business and directly getting involved with activities that support the community outside of work.
Jason, who attended the glittering awards on 15 November, said: “I was delighted to recognise Less Than Zero Barbers at the awards; they are true community champions, making a very real difference to people’s lives in Chesterfield.
“Most of our 100+ staff live in and around Chesterfield and, to me, it’s important that they are supported not just in the work place but within the communities they live. Sponsoring the award category was a great way of recognising the many great initiatives and people that contribute to the communities in which our staff and their families and friends live.”
Less than Zero is so much more than just a barbers was recognised in the awards for its many community initiatives in both Chesterfield and Sheffield to help homeless people and people dealing with mental health issues.
The business provides free haircuts, beard trims and goody bags for those who don’t have a place to call home and also offers a non-judgemental environment where men can go and seek support for any mental health issues.
Less Than Zero Barbers opened in January 2017 and has gone from strength to strength, opening a second shop in Woodseats, Sheffield earlier this year.
Martin is passionate about helping others. He said: “Myself and the other barbers at Less Than Zero all have a skills which we can use to help others who are less fortunate than us. We all try to do what is right and help the community and offer our services free of charge to at least one person in need.”
Alongside Less Than Zero Barbers, Brighter Futures- Employability Derbyshire and Chameleon School of Construction were also shortlisted for the Community Contribution award.
The Derbyshire Times Business Awards are one of Chesterfield’s highest profile awards. This year, the glittering black-tie awards event was held at Chesterfield College and hosted by entrepreneur and former contestant on BBC 1’s The Apprentice, Jessica Cunningham.

Jason Lippitt (Left) presented award to Less Than Zero barbers.