There’s positivity around Rugby - but the job’s not done yet

Jim Griffin of Automotive Insulations
Jim Griffin of Automotive Insulations

Things are looking good but we must be wary of becoming complacent, says Jim Griffin, Rugby branch chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and managing director of Rugby firm Automotive Insulations, in his latest column...

The mood among businesses across this area remains positive.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), showed that many of our manufacturers and service sector companies said their sales and orders were on the rise.

This is particularly true for those who export and I will once again make a plea to all my fellow Rugby businesses to speak to the UKTI team at the Chamber to find out more about selling their goods and services overseas.

When it comes to employment, more than 50 per cent of manufacturers surveyed said they would be looking to take on new staff and just under half of the service based companies also said they hoped to expand their team.

Colleagues at CWT - the Chamber’s training division - say that they have a record number of vacancies for apprentices across the region than at any time before.

This is all very good news but it’s vital that nobody becomes complacent and thinks that the job is done.

That’s why I was delighted to see the announcement that the Government’s Local Growth Fund will see more than £74 million allocated to this area and that should help to unlock further funding.

The money will be spent in a range of ways – many of which we as a Chamber have long campaigned for: improving infrastructure, enhancing skills and assisting start-up companies.

Part of the money will go towards an Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering “Grow On” Space for small and medium enterprises at Ansty Park in Rugby, which will complement the work of the Manufacturing Technology Centre, already on site.

So far from complacency, there is recognition that as a region and a country, we must continue to invest in our future or we will, undoubtedly, get left behind.

I know in my own business that we have to keep investing in new technologies and in our people to keep the company moving forward but, as I said above, it’s all about looking for new opportunities too.

The Chamber offers access to a host of support and assistance – including help with exporting – as well as the chance to meet and do business with other companies in the area.

So keep an eye out for the next time we meet in the Rugby area and pop along to see what you can get out of the Chamber of Commerce.

There is a real feeling that the economy is starting to go places so this is the time to ensure your business is ready to make the most of it.