Trade printer Route One has launched a summer recruitment drive that will involve the hiring of just shy of 30 new staff.
By September, the Rotherham-based outfit, whose parent Bluetree Group also has several other divisions, should have 28 new staff in place. The drive follows a £5m summer spend that included the installation of a new Speedmaster and Fujifilm Jet Press.
Route One co-founder James Kinsella said the training taking place on the new kit was part of the reason that new staff were being recruited, to fill in gaps as some staff are promoted or reallocated.
Recently appointed Bluetree Connect director Bryan Shirley, who is heavily involved with recruitment, said that it has mainly been driven by an expected surge in orders in the September to November period.
It is also expanding its product range, offering spot UV along with a wider selection of business cards from a new dedicated business card unit, which utilises the Jet Press. A number of new products will also be announced over the next few months.
20 of the new staff are being taken on in production roles, mainly in litho but some in digital and inkjet, with the rest being recruited for web development and customer services roles.
Kinsella said: “This is slightly different to previous years in that we are focused on expanding our product range instead of just pure capacity. As we are focused on more than just spare capacity this year we are all about developing our proposition, so the new roles should bring us into new areas that we haven’t been in before.
“We do a lot of training internally, so quite often if recruiting for a role, printers join, then train over time and move into a different role, starting as press assistant, then becoming number two, then number one. A lot of people move up from the team.”
The news comes against the backdrop of UK firms reporting skills shortages, with recent Open University research finding 90% of companies’ surveyed to have struggled to recruit skilled workers in the past 12 months, but Kinsella remains optimistic.
“The areas we are in, Rotherham and Sheffield, I think we do have quite a good skills base in the print industry, relative to some other areas,” he added.
Bluetree Group, which also incorporates Instantprint, Instantprint Pro and Bluetree Connect, is aiming for sales of £32m by the end of this year, a boost of £4m.