Furniture specialist HPP kickstarts work, skills and mentoring placements across two bases

Date published: 02 June 2021

Furniture components manufacturer and distributor Hill’s Panel Products (HPP) is providing new work, training, skills and mentoring opportunities for young people in Oldham and Sheffield.

HPP, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is taking on six youngsters, based across its centres at Oldham and Beighton in Sheffield under the national Kickstart scheme.

The company has a history of commitment to skills and training at all levels.

Activities with young people include attending regional jobs fairs to raise awareness of furniture industry careers, supporting a state-of-the-art youth centre and hosting educational visits to its premises.

The Government’s national Kickstart scheme provides funding to support placements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are at risk of unemployment but keen to gain experience, skills and an income.

Funding support for businesses is available to cover the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage for 25 hours per week for up to six months, along with other contributions.

Further funding is available for training and support so that participants can get a job in the future.

Businesses can take on participants up to the end of December 2021.

HPP temporarily halted its operations last spring during the first national Covid-19 lockdown.

But it then gradually reopened activities through 2020 with new covid-secure arrangements.

It is now fully operational. 

It began the Kickstart process towards the end of last year as part of a joint submission by various firms through the Greater Manchester Business Growth Company

The new Kickstart participants include Matthew Mills and Abdul Abdallah, both based at Oldham.  

Matthew, aged 23, is from Alt, and attended Waterhead Academy.

Abdul, aged 21, lives in Hathershaw.

He went to school in Derby when younger.

Dan Mounsey, HPP marketing and business development director, said: “The covid pandemic has been serious and challenging for society in many ways, including for businesses, jobs and the economy.

"Young people face particular uncertainty and we need to respond in a manageable way.

"The new Kickstart scheme offers excellent opportunities for young people to develop important work experience and skills.

“We’re really looking forward to working with, supporting and mentoring these six participants at our two sites.

"We’re committed to boosting their abilities, knowledge, confidence and prospects in many ways.

“There are all sorts of career roles across HPP from furniture panel manufacturing, factory maintenance, warehousing and logistics to financial accounts, IT, website development, sales and marketing.

"This is the case right across the KBB sector.

"So, it’s important to ensure young people realise what our industry can offer and that they can contribute to its future.”

HPP serves the national kitchen and bedroom fitting industry.

It has over 2,000 trade customers, including installers and showrooms, and supplies over 6,000 products including its own brands of doors and cabinet components.

It was a finalist in the Insider Made In The North-West Awards 2018 and a sustainability partner at the 2019 national KBB Retail and Design Awards held in Manchester.

The company’s manufacturing capacity has been expanded in recent years with a second vinyl-wrapped door production line and additional warehousing for its own products and those from other suppliers, such as worktops, surfaces and decorative panels for domestic, retail and commercial interiors.

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