Welcome to the third in our series of looking at the day to day impact the Coronavirus is having on a selection of businesses within the CCR through the different perspectives of both a newly appointed graduate and their respective managers.
Our third feature covers Kontroltek – an industrial repairs solutions provider headquartered in Bridgend. Kontroltek commenced trading with 7 employees back in 2012. They now employ 66 people and were recognised as one of the Fast Growth 50 companies in 2017. They are one of many organisations in the CCR who are doing their very best to maintain business as usual in these unprecedented times.
We spoke to Carl Waters, Finance and Operations Director about the challenges the Coronavirus “lockdown” has presented to Kontroltek:
Carl told us;
“Undertaking industrial repairs from home is not feasible so we have had to put a lot of effort into adapting our workplaces to facilitate social distancing and employee safety. We would normally work on specialist workbenches in a 2 by 2 formation. We still do that, BUT now we have inserted temporary screens to provide that protection against contact with fellow employees. Fortunately, having such a wide portfolio of clients across multiple sectors has proved invaluable as whilst some sectors, most notably automotive, have contracted others and are burgeoning. With contracts across food, packaging, pharmaceuticals and utilities to name but a few plus the NHS – all of which have seen demand for services increase substantially over this period- we have been fortunate in being able to keep our business trading and keep our furloughed employees to a minimum”.
When asked if they have had the opportunity to use their production capabilities in response to any of the national campaigns for Covid related essentials, Carl was proud to be able to note that their engineers had been able to download approved design specifications for masks and produce them using their 3D printing capability for their local hospital.
Carl added; “We were delighted to have the opportunity and ability to contribute toward the protection of our frontline hospital workers. We will continue to do anything we can do to help the local fight against this virus. We have a hugely capable team able to apply ingenuity, talent and tools to a whole range of solutions. We are open to all suggestions and possibilities”.
Kontroltek has attempted to maximise the employees continuing to work by continuing to develop its relationships with existing and new businesses in the key sectors. Those who have had to be placed on furlough receive regular updates from the Company to ensure they are aware of what the Company is doing currently and for the future.
With regard to their apprenticeships and graduate placements, Carl confirmed that Kontroltek were impressed at how well these particular employees were coping with the changes. He added;
“The guys are having to undertake more new tasks with less on the job supervision than usual and they are proving more than capable of rising to the challenge. We have been impressed with the initiative shown and their willingness to learn new things”.
With regard to Emily Longden – a CCR graduate taken on just a few weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown commenced Carl said,
“Despite her very limited experience of Kontroltek, Emily is proving to be a great asset for us. Whilst unable to undertake the intended programme of work right now she has been actively engaged at home in using her analytical skills to profile our sector and customer mix across different regional demographics. This work will prove invaluable in due course in helping us derive a focused growth strategy for a post Covid-19 world and we are delighted at the great progress she is making”.
We also spoke to Emily Longden about the challenges being a new Graduate that’s recently started working at Kontroltek is posing in the wake of Covid-19?
Emily told us;
“I joined Kontroltek on March 16th, had five to six full days, at that point people were already panicking about coronavirus. It was busy as you can imagine and everyone was trying to plan ahead knowing the virus is coming and we may be in ‘lockdown’. I still haven’t managed to meet all the people I work with and if I have it was no more than a hello during my first week”.
Despite Emily’s short amount of time at the role before Covid-19, Emily was tasked with a project which meant that working from home was at least a possibility, Emily said;
“The project I was given is an important one which I am thankful for. I started too recently to be furloughed and as we are a Key Industry there is still plenty to get on with. I’ve been tasked with collecting and analysing data on our customer base so that we can view our penetration across various industry sectors and regional demographics. It’s great to be able to put my data analysis skills to use and be able to add value. I think the work I am doing now will be vital for my company when all this calms down a little so that’s good”.
Despite the short time Emily has spent at Kontroltek she was very happy with the company and excited for the future prospects of the role. Emily added;
“I’m excited about the work and what the future will hold, we are a key company and I know we are involved in making 3D face masks to aid the NHS during this period which is fantastic. As I’ve been focussed on my project exclusively I don’t know too much about what everyone else is doing outside of my own projects bubble but I am keen to learn. We will be start to have catch-up calls on Zoom soon so that will be good to keep in contact with people. The great thing is that they are putting trust in me to get on with my work and I’m determined to repay that by doing the very best I can.”
Happy with the CCR Graduate Scheme, the recruitment process she had been through and the new role in particular despite the significant changes to the ways of working in the short term due to the virus, Emily added;
“I’m currently living away from Bridgend and having to work from home but I’m excited for the future. I really like the company and am enjoying the project work. Having only left university quite recently I am totally motivated to work hard at this role. I saw this particular CCR graduate role advertised online and I think the Scheme is a great thing to keep Welsh graduates in Wales by getting them working in a Welsh company. I’m hoping to progress at Kontroltek as much as possible and hopefully start my ILM qualification as soon as possible too”
If you are evaluating your capacity and need any further resource to manage at this time, the Cardiff Capital Region Graduate Scheme may be able to help. The Scheme can provide a free and streamlined recruitment service that can match your immediate resourcing needs to high-skilled graduate talent in the region.
If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch with either firstname.lastname@example.org or Geraldine.OSullivan@cardiff.gov.uk.