With recession snapping at our heels once more, it is all too easy to fall into a despond about the future of the UK’s manufacturing sector. But despite the depressing economic reports of late, manufacturing appears to be holding up – and it’s not just the big companies that are keeping the wolf from the door, as Les Hunt discovered during a recent chat with SME proprietor, Gordon Day.
Usually when prompted by government announcements of financial or other incentives for the sector – I have paid little more than lip service to that great stalwart of our manufacturing infrastructure: the small to medium sized enterprise (SME). So, I was delighted to accept proprietor Gordon Day’s invitation to come down to Farnborough in Hampshire to see one in action – his 48-year old company, Cove Industrial Enterprises.
Now, I’m not exactly a stranger to SMEs; I’ve visited many over the years and have, almost without exception, come away with the sense that here is yet another small company with great products and tremendous flair, and a determination to weather any financial storm that our economy is likely to throw at them. Gordon’s company is no exception in this regard, but the reason for this visit was triggered more by a recent article I wrote about the value of apprenticeships – a subject very close to his heart.
Gordon Day set up Cove with a £4,000 loan back in 1963 and technician apprenticeships were established almost from the word go; indeed several apprentices from later years are still with the company and are now in senior positions, making decisions that will determine its future course and fortunes.