Recruitment specialist to double workforce after engineering growth plans

A Rotherham entrepreneur who set out to tackle the skills shortages affecting Sheffield City Region’s engineering and manufacturing sectors by applying his love of technology to the recruitment sector now plans to expand his business.

Luke Bell intends to double the number of his employees, as well as open offices in West Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

He had realised many companies operating in the engineering sector were being held back, simply because they were unable to find the skilled staff needed to grow.

After teaming up with recruitment consultant and business partner Sam Wilkinson, the duo began developing a specialist recruitment business. In April 2019 they launched Metalis, which is based in the RiDO-operated Fusion@MagnaBusiness Centre.

Within just a few months of opening, Metalis has secured significant contracts with some of South Yorkshire’s best known engineering and manufacturing companies.

Today, it employs seven members of staff. It has launched a dedicated division targeting the construction sector and has a long term aim to expand throughout the UK.

Bell said: “Many businesses invest vast sums of money each year in a bid to plug skills gaps within their workforce. Sam and I had worked together previously and we felt that our combined knowledge could help businesses to overcome a key issue which all too often stifles business growth.

“When we first began developing Metalis, we realised quite early on that although the Sheffield City Region is home to some amazing engineering companies, many faced similar problems when it came to finding the staff needed to grow.

“We needed to find the right premises to support our business, and after spending time looking at different options we chose the Fusion business centre.

“Fusion is close to the Sheffield-Rotherham border and surrounded by many of the businesses we felt we could support. Sam and I first began working together through a business start-up programme for young people in 2016 provided by Rotherham Council and part of that support included access to office space at Fusion.

“Today we occupy three offices in the building and we’re setting our sights on further growth, not only in South Yorkshire. Our long term goal is to see the business provide specialist support to engineering and manufacturing companies as well as construction and civil engineering businesses based throughout the UK.”

Julie Hall, RiDO business centre coordinator, Fusion@Magna, said: “Since being supported by Rotherham’s start-up support, it became clear that Luke and Sam are natural entrepreneurs and the launch and success they have enjoyed to date is a testament to their dedication and hard work.

“Metalis is not only helping a number of significant employers in the Sheffield City Region’s engineering sector to overcome recruitment challenges they face, but they are also helping businesses throughout the UK.

“Our business centres were designed with the needs of entrepreneurs in mind, offering flexible easy-in, easy-out terms and one of the advantages of being based in a centre like Fusion is that you instantly become part of a business community.

“Luke has benefited from ongoing support and guidance from the RiDO team, as well as offering the flexibility to take on additional office space as their business has evolved.”