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3 minute read

Gooch & Housego’s success creates new jobs

Gooch & Housego’s (G&H) Torquay facility has won a new national award which recognises how its staff and management have worked together to grow the business.

The Sharing in Growth Integrity trophy was handed over in front of representatives of the G&H’s 180-strong Torquay workforce who were praised for their skills and commitment by Graham Catley, head of manufacturing for fibre optics.

A trophy and certificate were presented to G&H by Andy Page, CEO of Sharing in Growth (SiG), the intensive government-backed programme designed by industry to raise the competitiveness of the UK aerospace supply chain.

G&H has created a business development strategy and then restructured its organisation to deliver its objectives. This had led to annual turnover improving from £17.5 million to £20 million in the last year and the addition of 30 new jobs. The Torquay site is on schedule, therefore, to double its revenue to £30 million by 2020.

The site manufactures advanced photonic systems and following the SiG programme have taken on 30 new staff / Picture: SiG


During the ceremony, Andy Page said: “We recognise that you have restructured your organisation and aligned all goals and targets to your strategy, reduced lead time in focus areas and improved your on-time delivery. You have fully embraced the Sharing in Growth programme and, through strong engagement with your people, you have generated significant productivity improvements and created an environment for team success.  We look forward to delivering your ambitions together.”

The Torquay facility is part of the Gooch & Housego group, the photonics technology business headquartered in Ilminster, Somerset, with operations in the USA and Europe. A world leader in its field, the company researches, designs, engineers and manufactures advanced photonic systems, components and instrumentation for applications in the aerospace, defence, industrial systems, optical communications, life sciences and scientific research sectors.

Graham Catley added: “The Sharing in Growth programme has helped to trigger business transformation in a relatively short period so we are confident in delivering our future objectives as a team. The most rewarding aspect has been how everyone here in Torquay has embraced change, made Sharing in Growth the day job and been proud to demonstrate the new skills and improvements they have implemented. So, we have not only improved the company results, we have also increased job satisfaction and motivation.”

The four-year £250 million SiG programme begins with a detailed diagnostic which allows companies to determine their barriers to growth. SiG’s team of business coaches then works with a bank of experts, including The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing, Deloitte, Industry Forum and the National Physical Laboratory, to train and mentor the management and staff to improve culture, strategy, operations and skills. In this instance, G&H created job descriptions, competencies and development objectives for all staff which underpinned the company’s strategy. As part of this, around 20 G&H staff are studying for National Vocational Qualifications in Business Improvement Techniques through the SiG programme. G&H also developed a data collection and reporting system that means everyone in the business can understand on-going performance against targets.

Gooch & Housego have increased turnover to £20m last and expect to hit £30m by 2020 / Picture: SiG


Presenting the award, Andy Page recognised G&H staff for their dedication to continuous improvement. He concluded: “As a country we have surprisingly low productivity compared with competitors in the USA, Germany and France. Sharing in Growth was created to help companies compete globally in high value manufacturing, making jobs more fulfilling, rewarding and secure. Ambitious companies deserve support so Sharing in Growth is proud to have played a part in Gooch & Housego’s stunning success.”

The SiG programme is endorsed by Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier, GE, GKN, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, MBDA, Rolls-Royce, Safran and Thales. It is supported by the Regional Growth Fund and more than £150 million in private investment.

With SiG support, the first 45 companies on the programme have secured more than £2 billion in contracts to date – almost 20% of which is for direct export. Consequently, having secured more than 3,000 jobs, SiG is well on target to hit its ultimate objective of safeguarding 10,000 UK jobs by 2022.