Westcombe engineering finishes runner-up at awards

A COMPANY set up by Peterborough City Council to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities has finished runner-up in the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards 2011.

At an awards ceremony at Mercedes Benz World in Weybridge, Westcome Engineering was announced runner-up in the Innovative People Management category of the awards.

Judges of the category looked for companies and organisations that had adapted to a changing environment in difficult financial times. Westcombe was up against large corporations such as Coca Cola, Perkins and Marshall Aerospace.

In 2009 Westcombe Engineering, based in Royce Road, Eastern Industry, Peterborough, was threatened with closure. The business was brought back under the control of the city council and a thorough review has seen it transformed into a profit making business.

Jeff Bellamy, Interim Managing Director of Westcombe Engineering, said: “We are really pleased to have finished runner-up in these awards, especially when you consider the large corporations we were up against. Westcombe adapted to a changing and more challenging environment by completely revising the way it operated so that it was no longer a drain on council resources. I am delighted that the work of management and staff at Westcombe has been recognised.”

Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “A great deal of work went into reshaping Westcombe and I am pleased this has been recognised on a national level. This is a fantastic achievement, for which management and staff at Westcombe should be congratulated.”

Westcombe was set up in 1971 through the Health and Welfare Committee of Peterborough City Council to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities with the aim of providing them with a foundation from which to seek mainstream employment.

At that time, with the limited legislation supporting people with disabilities, sheltered workshops were seen as an appropriate and beneficial model for assisting individuals into the workplace. The engineering workshop produces precision machine tool components used by a number of engineering companies, with its main customer being Perkins Engines.