UK Manufacturing Can Elevate Business Now: Simon Hunter


The current situation during the COVID-19 outbreak, is an excellent opportunity for the US manufacturing sector to elevate business opportunities with active recruitment, according to Simon Hunter, CEO of Hunter Apparel Solutions. The company specialises in the design, manufacture, and aftercare of protective equipment and branded professional clothing.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have paused the corporate clothing side of our business to become a seven-day per week operation in order to maximise the help we can provide to the front line. We have a broad range of PPE products and scrubs, as well as specialist items like our FireHunter Particulate Blocking Hood, that we’re supplying to the front line,” Hunter said in a UKFT press release.

Speaking about undertaking safety measures in workplace, he said, “In order to be able to work in this situation, we have gone over and above the government requirements on social distancing, decontamination and hygiene to create a really safe working environment. We’ve also had to reprioritise our workload and decommission departments to stop making anything that isn’t for the front line.

“We’re doing more rapid UK R&D prototyping for new products that suit the new market COVID-19 has created and ramping up our decontamination centres in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We’re actively recruiting more stitchers to be able to respond to the demand and buying more machinery for the manufacture of PPE and scrubs,” Hunter said.

Talking about increasing the recruitment in the manufacturing sector, Hunter said, “This is not going to be the first pandemic that we will live with and we need to have domestic resilience by producing more of our own PPE products. This in turn, will help the wider UK fashion and textile industry as our manufacturing sector has been decimated over the past few decades. If our country has more stitchers, pattern cutters and tailors, then this will benefit the fashion industry as people will move around to other parts of our sector. Remember recruiting and developing stitching capability in the UK means we create jobs for engineers to fix machines, pattern cutters, tailors, CAD operators, designers and managers. All of which in turn creates, not just national resilience in PPE supply, but also revenue, a wider tax base, meaningful employment and skills. It will eventually create export opportunity of greater scale too.”

“I believe there has never been a greater opportunity for our whole sector to be pulled up and elevated by this, so that it is recognised for what it is: a sector of real national importance. For the first time in the 25 years of my working life, I honestly think this could be our moment to reverse the decline of our UK manufacturing capabilities but we must act quickly. Many of the stitchers in the UK will soon be reaching retirement age and won’t be there to train younger people to enter the industry. We must come together to engage with government in a positive way to show that as our country tries to recover and find our feet on the other side of this nightmare, our industry can be part of the solution,” he said.