A leading Hull business has pushed on again following its healthy return post-pandemic.
Sewell Ventures, which covers construction, development, fuel and convenience stores, as well as facilities and estates management, recorded a 6.8 per cent increase in revenues in 2022, up from £115.8 million to £123.8 million. Operating profit was up from £2.1 million to £3.4 million.
All elements of the business saw an increase, albeit construction was virtually flat at £50.5 million, and suffered an expected loss, due to issues with a contract stretching back to 2021.
Sewell On-the-Go, which invested in a property in Beverley “of strategic importance” in the calendar-aligned year, enjoyed an 8.2 per cent lift from £57.1 million to £62.1 million, while the two fastest growing elements were estates management services and facilities management, up 62.5 per cent and 24 per cent respectively, to £7.2 million and £3.9 million.
In his strategic report accompanying the results, Dr Paul Sewell OBE, said: “The directors are pleased with the underlying trading performance during 2022, particularly given the challenging market conditions across both sides of the group as a consequence of Covid, Brexit, the conflict in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis. Despite the external challenges, the business has continued to take opportunities during 2022.
“The group plans to build on its growing reputation across Yorkshire and the North and the directors are excited by the opportunities on the horizon.”
A new Hull primary school, secondary school extension in the city and a commercial refurbishment in Wakefield were highlights in construction, with both Sewell and its West Yorkshire counterpart Illingworth and Gregory entering 2023 with “very strong order books” and an anticipation of a similar level of turnover.
Yorkshire Energy Park’s detailed planning consent for phase one and Humber Freeport status was also heralded.
Fuel trading was described as having “again been successful, despite the ongoing volatility in the fuel market”. Dr Sewell added: “The property acquisition in the year demonstrates
the directors desire to invest in for the long term, ensuring the business has a portfolio of sites which are fit for the future.”
As reported, as the year closed, the Sewell Estates element took first steps towards employee ownership, with Dr Sewell selling a 25 per cent stake to a trust. The business had also started the year by putting its name to Hull KR’s Craven Park, with Dr Sewell emerging as chair. He added that it “marked the start of an exciting partnership between both East Hull-based organisations”.
Headcount remained constant, at 484.
Company on target to have 15 per cent of workforce on career-start programme
The results were filed as the company announced it has invested in 25 graduates, apprentices and trainees as part of its Gateway Project, launched two years ago.
It aims to triple the number of career-starting roles in the business.
Sewell Estates managing director, Jo Barnes, said: “We’ve always found it rewarding to bring in new talent and develop them into the leaders of the future. But making a definite pledge to triple our recruitment of entry level positions has really made us focus on how we can provide as many opportunities as possible.
“Since the pandemic, so many young people have had their education disrupted, and they’ve found it very difficult to find jobs without being able to gain experience. We firmly believe that skills can be learned on the job, and we prefer to recruit for culture fit and attitude.”
Harriet Deverell was one of the first recruits, joining as a graduate consultant with Sewell Group’s estate consultancy Shared Agenda. She is described as being an integral part of the team and has recently been promoted to a more senior role.
She said:“When Sewell Group offered me a graduate position, it was a fantastic opportunity to get started in the consultancy industry. After our time at university was interrupted by the pandemic, I’ve seen lots of my friends struggle to find jobs without experience, so I’m really grateful that I’ve been given this chance to learn and gain skills in a job I love. I’m really looking forward to continuing to progress in the industry, and in turn help mentor young people who are entering the workforce for the first time.”
Several of Sewell Group’s senior leadership team progressed from such entry points.
Mark Boothby, joint managing director of Sewell Construction, joined in 1996 as a trainee. “Being given the chance to join a company that supports and develops its people enabled me to grow and learn the culture of the business, along with skills for carrying out new roles,” he said. “There have been a number of opportunities for growth since I joined, which have resulted in me co-leading Sewell Construction. I recognise and feel responsibility to reinvest in apprentices and trainees to give young people the support and opportunities I’ve had in my own career, as at a young age you never know where your career may take you.”
Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber