Radical Sportscars: Filling skills gaps and meeting rapid growth demands
Based in Peterborough, Radical Sportscars design, build, and supply special luxury race cars. They are the World’s largest supplier of these types of cars, with a huge 93% of their products being exported outside of the UK.
Alongside manufacturing the sports cars, they have a race track which is used for fun family day experiences.
Although 2022 will mark their 25th anniversary since opening, last year saw a dramatic change in the business with a huge increase in demand for their products. Radical’s CEO Joe says their appeal is that “our products are not dull, they are really, really sexy”.
In 2021, Radical produced over double the number of sports cars from the year before. Through launching a new model and looking ahead, Radical were able to come back from a difficult trading year and exceed all expectations.
The challenge: Filling engineering skills shortages to meet production demand
Although their business growth is welcomed, Radical Sportscars are now faced with many difficult challenges to keep up with momentum and fulfil demand. When we spoke to the CEO Joe Anwyll and Chief Finance Director, Hitesh Katechia, and asked what the biggest challenge for them was:
“When you have a demand greater than you can supply, it brings enormous challenges to our desk every day… but if I was forced to give a single answer to this, I’d say skills… over the years we haven’t trained young people to come through and now that’s manifesting itself in skills shortages within the engineering and manufacturing industry.”
Already hiring 25 people this year, the “organisation is going through a transformational change at the moment” and HR is the top priority to take Radical to the next level, but it’s “both exciting and frustrating to hire at the moment” due to these shortages.
The solution: Funding for new apprenticeship scheme targeting skilled workers
Being unable to hire more skilled workers is impeding their growth, with external reasons such as Brexit and the HS2 scheme creating a shortage of trained engineers. When there’s a national skills shortage, the best way to overcome this is by attracting the right team at a young age, then coaching and mentoring them.
Radical Sportscars have received funding and support from Growth Works to tackle this issue through creating an education programme led by their experienced, strong management team.
They plan on “working with the training organisation to build a partnership with local colleges, schools, apprenticeships, to attract the right team… This is a way of coaching and mentoring them into the next phase of Radical’s development”. Without funding, creating a robust educational scheme wouldn’t have been possible for the team.
The outcome: Emerging into new global markets with expert business advice and guidance
As Radical Sportscars have spent the last few years growing their brand and seeing an increase in demand, they now want to penetrate new global markets. They already export most of their race cars overseas, but the scope to tap into other markets is huge.
It’s refreshing that someone has tried to understand who we are…
Seeking initial help from one of Growth Works’ Inward Investment international advisers has helped to start this process as she “got the message very quickly and channelled her support and efforts on penetrating that market (US)”, introducing the Radical team to key decision-maker contacts in large corporations was a “huge value added”.
Although sceptical initially, Hitesh discussed the one-to-one advice he had from our Growth Works’ Coaching Adviser, as having a “very targeted approach” and that “it’s refreshing that someone has tried to understand what we are and then tried to tailor any help to that, not what they think we should be”. Getting external business advice from someone who “understands the growing pains of growing” was welcomed.
Radical’s next step after setting up their education programme for skilled workers is to look at getting a purpose-built facility with the support of partners and local organisations, to become a flag-bearer of talent within Peterborough. With funding and support from Growth Works, they can tackle their immediate staff issues and then look to continue future growth.
A stronger position for the brand
Since Radical Sportscars began trading 25 years ago, they’ve been located at the same premises. Now occupying multiple units scattered across an industrial estate, they’ve well and truly outgrown the space and have a deep desire “to find ourselves in a better, more prominent facility, which will strengthen our brand and project a proper image of the company so that we can attract more and more people” to Peterborough.
With a high-end product range and high net-worth individuals as customers, they want to showcase the Radical Sportscars brand in the best light possible by having the skilled team and headquarters to match.
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