A WEST Cumbrian firm has announced it is expanding its workforce in both its training services division and with the creation of a new manufacturing business, both based in Whitehaven.

The Responsive Group, which has locations in Whitehaven, Workington and Manchester, has also recently secured a framework agreement to provide services to the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset through its Responsive NDT (Non Destructive Testing) division.

Riding high with confidence on this continued success, the Responsive Training Services arm, which was opened in Whitehaven last year, is also set to grow. The team has already gained several significant industry training accreditations and will be delivering new training courses in the coming months.

Lee Grears, group managing director for Responsive Limited, said: “To take the training business to the next level and put our accreditations to good use, it’s the perfect time to recruit a new tutor within non-destructive testing. This will allow Responsive to train and qualify inspectors here in West Cumbria rather than companies having to send their people upwards of three hours around the UK to access this specialist technical training elsewhere.

“What better time is there to be creating employment in Cumbria now that we’re coming out of the worst of Covid?”

To continue the growth theme, Lee has two other initiatives taking shape. He has decided to open a new manufacturing facility at Haig Enterprise Park in Whitehaven under a separate company name, creating two new skilled jobs. Responsive is also expanding its mechanical testing laboratory on the Haig site to twice the size with additional space already secured.

“There’ll be more news very soon about the new venture,” Lee said, “but it fits well with the existing Responsive group and its specialisms. Additional facilities and technical equipment have been procured and now is the time to make this work. And the investments in more space for mechanical testing will allow us to strengthen our range of services too.”

The past 18 months have been a significant growth period for Responsive and its associated businesses, and the new initiatives and Hinkley Point C success fit perfectly with Lee’s vision for the next 18 months.

“We had high hopes for 2020 and, without a doubt, global and local circumstances have slowed down our progress,” Lee said. “However, Covid-19 has also given the Responsive management team time to think and manoeuvre our businesses into the best positions for going forward. With all our staff now back at work and raring to go, these are truly exciting times for Responsive, our current team and the new recruits who’ll be joining us soon.”

The announcement is promising for the company which suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Mr Grears said they “felt forgotten” after having to close two out of his three businesses and furlough six of 14 staff.