The Economy and Transport Secretary officially opened Smart Solutions’ refurbished Newport headquarters, after the firm invested £500,000 across its network of offices.
The investment comes as the business continues to expand its operations into Europe for the first time, with the opening of a new location in Krakow, Poland.
After unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the reopening of Raleigh House, in Langstone Business Park, Mr Skates was given a tour of the 6,500 square foot building which now has cleaner and greener credentials.
The new refurbishment included a climate-controlled heating system, movement-sensor lighting, and transparent glass panels instead of office walls.
With up to 40 members of staff based at its head office, the refurbishment has created additional meeting rooms and hot desks to support efficient and agile working, allowing for more of its 230 staff to work from the Newport headquarters.
Mr Skates also heard how Smart Solutions is looking beyond the current UK-EU negotiations to offer a post-Brexit solution for non-UK workers seeking employment in Britain, in an effort to ease a potential shortfall of labour.
This will include a ‘one-stop-shop’ for candidates, ensuring that they are equipped with direct access to employers through the predicted work permit systems and that they have the appropriate training for employment.
Mr Skates said: “The Welsh Government is proud to have supported Smart Solutions and to have facilitated its growth from a single office in Pontypool to a company that now employs over 200 people in Newport.
“The newly refurbished offices will provide an excellent working environment for staff, which I am sure will help to drive up productivity.
“Our Economic Action Plan, which I launched in December, includes a real focus on strengthening our regional economies and ensuring the fruits of our prosperity fall more evenly across Wales, and the ongoing success of companies like Smart Solutions is absolutely key to this ambition.”
Further investment has been made in four of Smart Solutions’ high street branches, creating a bistro-style environment where recruitment candidates spend less time form filling and more time engaging with recruiters.
In its new northern regional head office in Leeds, the company has moved across the city to larger premises and it has also opened new locations in West Bromwich, Leicester and Barking.
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Mr Bowles added: “The refurbishment programme comes as part of our wider story of 10 years of success, so to have Mr Skates take time out of his busy schedule to visit our refurbished headquarters and hear about the wider investments and expansions being made across the business is an honour.”
“Improving our working environment is having a positive impact on our staff who have a light, bright, open space to work in.
“I’m also particularly proud of our company timeline that leads the stairway from the ground floor to the first floor of the office – it shows staff, clients and visitors alike the key milestones and achievements we have made in just 10 years of trading.
“At Smart Solutions, we are continually adapting our working methods to more accurately reflect and react to the needs of not just our own workforce, but the needs of clients and potential candidates.
“Moving forward, we have refocused our vision and strategy with a view to achieving continued growth as well as placing ourselves in the best position to deal with the challenges that face the industry in the coming months and years.”
Smart Solutions, which has a flexible workforce of more than 5,500 people, now has more than 50 locations across the UK, spanning Hull to Carmarthen and Glasgow to Hastings, where services are delivered from the high street and on-site at its clients’ premises.
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