Skills Bank Interview – Nicola Eaton-Taylor, HR Manager, Atomising Systems Limited

Tell us about your journey – what’s your story so far?

Atomising Systems Limited (ASL) is a unique manufacturing facility in Darnall, Sheffield. We’re one of the world-leading producers of metal powder using our in-house atomising techniques. We export around 95% of our powder to countries outside of the UK.

Our Research and Development Team has a critical role to play in ensuring that we stay ahead in a fast-moving market.  Atomising metal powder is a challenging process. When we recruit for new roles, we can only appoint people with broadly similar experience in the metals field and then we provide specific on-the-job training.

Given the unique and highly specialised nature of our business, we need to ensure that we have the skills that we need to stay ahead of the game.   We identified areas of the business that needed further training and in September 2020, we reached out to Skills Bank for help to get ourselves into a stronger position for the future.

It is part of our recruitment strategy to take on new staff as apprentices. As part of this strategy, we offer work experience opportunities to a local school and give talks to encourage young people to work in this industry.

Our business development ambition is to maximise sales of metal powder and continue to export our product across the globe.

Our success is allowing us to support South Yorkshire’s economy as we work with around 200 local companies and local and national freight companies. Locally, our suppliers support us with sourcing raw materials and consumables, maintenance, and repairs to our bespoke equipment.

What training have you done?

We worked with Skills Bank to create a bespoke package of training that included exactly what our business needed. It included specialist training for key staff in metallurgy, programmable logic controls (PLC) and electrical installation.

All of our managers received line management training and newly appointed managers enrolled on a leadership and management course.  New shift leaders received supervisory training.   

We obtained Microsoft Excel and project management training for several office-based staff.

PLC and Electrical installation training will be delivered shortly.

What difference have you seen?

The full package of Skills Bank supported training has increased our knowledge, allowed us to review existing processes and motivated staff to deliver higher performance and productivity.  

By focusing on management and leadership training for our managers, we have been able to provide a consistent, legally compliant management approach with a shared understanding of best practice. This has resulted in an increase in confidence and effectiveness. 

Streamlining our IT and project management processes has allowed us to use technology more effectively, reduce errors and boost productivity.

When the PLC and Electrical installation training has been completed, together with the metallurgy training, it is expected that the business will be in a stronger position.  The anticipated results will be an improvement in quality and efficiency, increased profitability and will enable staff to be more effective in their roles.