100 new jobs created at Washington company as PPE factory moves to 24-7 working to meet NHS demand
A company has doubled its workforce by adding 100 staff to its team as it pumps more than £2 million into making PPE for frontline NHS staff and social care workers.
Washington-based PFF Group is creating the roles as it invests the cash to install custom-built machines to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and plans to ramp up production to 24-hours a day.
It follows PFF’s appointment by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to manufacture 360 million disposable polythene aprons to meet increased demand for the kit, with the contract awarded after a robust due diligence process.
The firm, which has its headquarters in West Yorkshire, began manufacturing aprons using existing machinery from international suppliers, but has now invested in faster machines manufactured in the UK by Hanbury-Autogil.
The additional staff will be taken on for the length of the contract and sees the team members join 108 permanent people at its Washington site and 113 at its Keighley base.
The firm is also investing in four folding machines from Europe to fold the polythene before it is fed into the apron manufacturing machine.
Kenton Robbins, group managing director said: “We worked closely with DHSC on due diligence ahead of our appointment as part of the Government’s ‘UK-Make’ initiative to source PPE from Britain.
"Demand for PPE has soared globally, with 210 million plastic aprons needed every week in the NHS alone.
“In just six months, in the midst of a pandemic and while continuing to support the UK’s food retail sector through the production and supply of food packaging, we worked in collaboration with the Hanbury-Autogil experts, to set up a new capability and capacity to manufacture disposable aprons.
"We have been able to design and build, two innovative, all-British machines that are the fastest and most reliable in the world, enabling us to significantly increase production.
“We are delighted to be able use our specialist sector knowledge and in-house expertise to ensure the UK’s need for PPE can be met during and beyond the pandemic, as well as creating job opportunities across our two sites in the current challenging climate.”
PFF is one of the UK’s largest independent food packaging manufacturers, providing packaging solutions to supermarkets, multi-national food manufacturers, food service and fresh produce companies across the UK.