We’ll invest to safeguard jobs

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A MAJOR Fife employer is keen to invest in its facilities in Kirkcaldy and Dalgety Bay to safeguard the jobs of its existing workforce and to create new opportunities for apprentices.

Havelock Europa – which employs 500 people across its two Fife plants – has been encouraged by its improving financial performance.

The company, which manufactures and installs furniture and fittings in offices, schools and shops, has seen a rise in turnover, a drop in pre-tax losses and a significant reduction in its debts.

With a healthy order book for the second half of the year, bosses are cautiously optimistic about the company’s future.

Strategy

Eric Prescott, chief executive, said: “We are very busy in Kirkcaldy. We have taken on 80-90 temporary workers, as a top-up, to help us cope with a higher than usual level of activity.

“Our strategy is to do more of what we are doing, and to do it well for our customers.

“As the business turns around, we’re looking to invest for the future. There’s a piece of machinery we’d like in our metal shop. We’re talking to our board, the bank and Scottish Enterprise, and if we get the go-ahead, it will increase capacity and provide security for 35 jobs.”

Mr Prescott said the company was fortunate to benefit from the experience of long-serving members of staff, with Havelock due to recognise the effort of eight employees in Fife who each have in excess of 40 years’ service.

The company is also working with local colleges and schools to find the right recruits to sustain its workforce.

Reputation

Havelock’s Kirkcaldy base, at Mitchelston Industrial Estate, trades under the name ESA McIntosh, and has a UK-wide reputation for delivering quality furniture for educational establishments.

The group has worked on 300 PPP projects for primary and secondary schools, community learning centres and further education colleges, and also includes local authorities and individual schools amongst its clients.

The education sector has provided the company with a strong start to the second half of 2012, with further work for retailers lined up towards the end of the year.

“Traditionally, the second half of the year is invariably busier,” said Mr Prescott. “With schools (in England) closed in August, we’ve been fitting out classrooms.

“And retailers tend to want refits carried out in time for their pre-Christmas period, so this can be a very busy time for us.”

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