Flooring company supports expansion with training programme

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A top-to-bottom commitment to training is driving the development of a flooring business which is lifting the ceiling on its expansion plans.
Paul Hood and Julie Dunham in the company’s warehouse

A top-to-bottom commitment to training is driving the development of a flooring business which is lifting the ceiling on its expansion plans.

Paul Hood and Son Flooring Ltd increased turnover by more than 50 per cent during the last year and is heading for higher growth having secured a partnership with a national project management company.

At the heart of the success is a training programme which invests in apprentices at the younger end of the workforce and in experienced staff at the other end.

Julie Dunham, who admits to being closer to 60 than 50, has topped up her admin and IT skills with a book-keeping course and is now pursuing a Level 2 qualification in computerised accounts with Golding Computer Services.

She said:

I’ve had all sorts of IT training in the past and I thought I had finished with training at my age. But this is something we need so I’m doing it and I am keen to learn.

Di Garbera, General Manager at Goldings, said:

This is a great example of a company which recognises the importance of upskilling its workforce across the board as it expands and secures new contracts.

We have more than 30 years’ experience in Sage training and we specialise in sourcing funding for courses. In this case we have also used our network of contacts to help the company find the other training that they need.

The rewards for the company, based at Chamberlain Business Park in Hull, have been an increase in turnover from £465,000 to £713,000 during the past 12 months and a confidence that the new financial year will see them break through the £1 million ceiling.

Paul Hood Flooring is also preparing to re-brand as Peak Flooring UK as it expands nationally.

Paul said:

I had been in the industry for 17 years when I decided to set up on my own, working from my garage. It was me and my van, then one lad and then two and it grew from there. We picked up bigger jobs and now we have about 15 people.

High-profile clients include Disney, Caffè Nero, Greggs and GAME. Bigger sites include large retail outlets, hospitals and schools nationwide as well as eight blocks of flats each with 23 floors and a 40,000 square-metre warehouse which needs the smoothest surfaces for its team of robots

Paul said:

We have spent the last six months restructuring the business, upgrading operating systems and upskilling our people to prepare for these bigger jobs. We have also done a lot of market research and identified the growth sectors. Now we want to take a step up. Rather than being a sub-contractor we want to get higher up the ladder, working directly with developers.

Ian Shuttleworth, who joined six months ago as Senior Business Manager, is using his experience as a Chartered Logistician from the oil and gas industry to plan the expansion and to manage the regulatory and operating issues around bigger projects.

He said:

The accounts area is a good example of what we are trying to do. We were only using a fraction of the capability of Sage and we knew that with more training we could open up a lot more, leading to better business management and helping us control and build the potential of the business.

We’ll be looking to bring in two batches of three flooring apprentices during the next year and increase the number of our flooring teams from six to eight.

Julie, a trained hairdresser who managed service stations and is also manager of Marist RUFC in Hull, is continuing her training with Goldings.

She said:

Most of my training is at Goldings’ office but I can do it online and Di provides telephone support. Goldings have also helped us find other courses to cover the rest of the training that we need for upskilling our workforce. I have found them a great company to work with.