A SUCCESSFUL West Cumbrian manufacturer has launched a recruitment drive as its order book tops £50 million.

Manufacturing as a sector has been dealt a hammer blow by Covid-19 with many plants having to stop work due to Government guidlines as the country got to grips with the pandemic.

TSP Engineering, based at Derwent Howe in Workington has faced many challenges during the Government lockdown, but is looking to the future and wants to grow its team.

John Coughlan, chief executive, said: “ Covid-19 pandemic has exerted its influence across all aspects of industry globally, making businesses change the way they think and operate in order to survive.

“We have faced our own challenges, but thanks to a combination of having a fantastic leadership team, a hardworking skilled and understanding workforce and so far this year receiving just under £50m-worth of orders, we have secured our future as a business and need to grow.”

It was revealed last week that unemployment figures in Cumbria had grown to 14,570, an increase of 2,030 from April and an increase of 7,460 from the pre-lockdown numbers in March.

Around 64,000 people have been furloughed from work during the lockdown period.

Mr Coughlan added: “We want to reach out to those people who may be out of work or are reassessing their careers as a result of the pandemic.

“We are a growing firm and have big plans for the future. We are one of the lucky ones and we want people to reach out and have a chat with us.”

Around 30 new posts will be created at the firm, which has clients in sectors including nuclear, defence and security, oil and gas, steelmaking and construction.

TSP Engineering initially furloughed 180 members of staff at the end of March, with a number of key employees working from home on full pay.

Its management team worked to create the right conditions at the plant to enable social distancing and other Government guidelines.

A small number of workers returned on April 15 to make sure orders for clients including British Steel were fulfilled and other departments have continued to be phased back in slowly.

Mr Coughlan added that the firm worked with unions, creating and completing risk assessments, increasing cleaning, implementing a one-way system, looking at staggering start and finish times and introducing new shift patterns for those who can’t work from home and will struggle to socially distance.

TSP Engineering was a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Steel. While the parent company was forced into compulsory liquidation last year, TSP Engineering continued trading as it was set up as a separate firm to British Steel.

It was sold to Chinese steelmakers Jingye in March as part of the British Steel deal.

The new chief finance officer of British Steel, Wei Zhang, has joined the TSP board.

Jingye’s vice chairman Guotai Wang said: “Mr Zhang’s presence will ensure co-ordination between TSP Engineering and the rest of the group which should open up opportunities for TSP Engineering to provide products and services to the rest of the group.”