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We know that the process industry is a major contributor to the UK economy; it accounts for some 2% of Gross Domestic Product and employs an estimated 230,000 skilled managers, technicians, operatives and support staff. The UK chemical and pharmaceutical industries also have a strong record as manufacturing’s number one export earner, accounting for 12% of manufacturing value added. But even so, the Chemistry Growth Partnership is committed to improving this by delivering a 50% increase in the UK economic contribution of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries by 2030.

Strategic priorities such as this require supporting measures to strengthen the UK’s competitiveness and growth potential, one of which is demand-led skills development. HFL Consulting has and continues to work hard to support this aim, recognising not least that our own success as a service provider is tied to the success of the industry overall.

That’s why we were incredibly proud to receive the ‘Chemical Industry Service Provider of the Year’ award at the celebration dinner held at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on 15 June.

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The award was sponsored by the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration, which is a not for profit organisation dedicated to working closely with the chemical sector to ensure that its science and related careers are easily understood by teachers and school children of all ages.

This has never been more important given that we have an ageing workforce. Demand for new recruits in the UK during the next ten years will be high and employers will need to look beyond the traditional pool of candidates to find the talented people they need. The supply of new people and the ability to quickly and easily up skill the existing workforce is a major challenge for all chemical businesses in the UK.

Sites falling under the COMAH Regulations are especially in need of support since from a health, safety and environmental perspective, they are amongst the most tightly regulated organisations in the world. Increased regulatory pressure introduces complexity and cost, which can threaten competitiveness.

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The Chemical Industry Service Provider of the Year award recognises our contribution to workforce development through a range of training programmes, benchmarking studies and seminars, all of which are aimed at meeting the needs of leaders, managers and supervisors on high hazard manufacturing facilities.

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Julian Hought, Managing Director at HFL Consulting Ltd said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to have won this award. We see it as recognition of our efforts to work collaboratively with industry stakeholders, to share understanding and to promote best practice. With the uncertainties ahead, working together has never been more important. I feel proud of what we have delivered and especially proud of the team that has allowed us to deliver it. But we would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the other companies who were shortlisted, the competition is always stiff and everyone should know that just being shortlisted is a measure of success in itself.”

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