Cygnet Group employs first female engineering apprentice

Published on December 31st, 2014

Cygnet Group has welcomed its first female engineering apprentice in the company’s 40-year history.

Katey Ikin, age 17, is in her second year of studying engineering at Mid Cheshire College. “I liked the idea of going to university, but the idea of being able to be hands-on and also learning the theory appealed to me more. ,That’s why I knew an apprenticeship was for me.  At Cygnet I am able to apply myself in both mechanical and electrical skills, putting my college course to best use.”

Katey is one of four engineering apprentices currently working at Cygnet Group, her apprenticeship lasts three  years and throughout that time she will still be working towards her level 3 BTEC in engineering. On completion of the scheme, Katey hopes to continue to develop her skills by studying for her HNC diploma in engineering whilst maintaining hands on work at Cygnet.

“I’ve never wanted to be anything else; I’ve always wanted to go into engineering. It started from a very young age when I began to get into Top Gear and motorsports. It’s something I’m passionate about, it seemed stupid to go into anything else when I could do something I loved.”

Only 3.4% of engineering apprentices in the UK are female –  the lowest in the European Union.  Cygnet Group is  committed to investing in local young people and providing career opportunities  in engineering.  This is why the company  set up its apprenticeship academy in 2013, to provide young people with the training and support required to secure a skilled position in the engineering industry.

“I don’t think many women see engineering as a career choice as it is stereotypically a male dominated world.  It can be quite intimidating to be the only girl in the classroom and always a worry to get labelled ‘that girl’ but I haven’t found this at all.  Everyone has been so accepting and encouraging, they don’t care that I’m female, they just want me to succeed.”

The Cygnet Group’s Apprenticeship Academy offers access to fantastic career opportunities in engineering within a multi-award winning and growing group of businesses.  The scheme provides the chance to ‘earn while you learn’, and offers exciting training and career development.

Cygnet Group Apprentice of the Year 2014 Award

Published on December 1st, 2014

Harry Whitehouse collects Apprentice of the Year award 2014 from Cygnet Group MD Matthew Kimpton SmithThe end of the year marks Cygnet Groups’ 40th Anniversary. One employee who especially had reason to celebrate was Harry Whitehouse who has won Cygnet Group Apprentice of the Year 2014 award.

Throughout 2014 Harry worked incredibly hard both in the warehouse and the classroom, completing his college modules with great results and well ahead of schedule.

Stuart Parker, Head of Operations, stated “Cygnet are very proud of their apprentices and the role they play in an engineering business that is growing rapidly. This award recognises outstanding effort and commitment by Harry over the last 12 months and we were very pleased to present this award to him”

“The best thing about winning the award for me was just that all my hard work since joining the company was being recognised” 22 year old Harry started working part-time at Cygnet Group in 2011 before becoming an apprentice in 2012. He started his 3 year apprenticeship whilst working towards his advanced apprenticeship in mechanical engineering level 3 at South Cheshire College. After the completion of his mechanical apprenticeship, in July 2015, Harry hopes to continue onto an electrical apprenticeship at Cygnet to become qualified in both of these areas.

In 2014 as part of his apprenticeship Harry travelled to Spain to work on an installation. “It has definitely been one of the highlights of my time here at Cygnet, it was a big task, but there was nothing about the trip I didn’t enjoy and I hope I get the opportunity to travel out on other jobs again. I’ve felt a great sense of achievement from my work, as time has gone on I’ve become more confident in my ability and gained the knowledge to know what to do next instead of waiting for someone to tell me”

Cygnet Group is committed to developing the skills of young people for a career in engineering. Currently Cygnet employs four apprentices, they look to recruit two new apprentices each year in August.

Cygnet Group celebrate 40 years in business at close of pivotal year

Published on November 28th, 2014

Cygnet Group - All Staff Sept 14Cheshire engineering company Cygnet Group is celebrating 40 years in business, at the end of a momentous year in which it won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, saw the completion of a new 21,000 sq ft building and launched its new US headquarters.

The Northwich-based company was founded in 1974 at the home of engineer Colin Smith and his wife Janet, to provide machinery for the textile industry. Four decades on, their original Texkimp business is still a thriving part of Cygnet Group, which remains a family company under the leadership of their son Matthew Kimpton-Smith and employs over 100 people.

The business they founded is now a market leader in the worldwide fibre and fabric processing industry but still a staunchly British manufacturer – all its machines are still manufactured in the UK and over 95% of sales are made up of export to over 30 countries.

In 2006 Cygnet Group went on to create SECC Oil & Gas, which manufactures patented safety connectors for the subsea oil and gas market, and then in 2010 it founded its technical recruitment business, Perpetual Partnerships.

A pivotal 40th year

In April this year, Cygnet Group won a coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its outstanding international sales growth.

This was followed in July by the launch of the company’s new US headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, in a move to strengthen ties with its US customers and grow its share of the region’s textile and carbon fibre manufacturing markets.

Then in September the company took ownership of its newly constructed 21,000 sq ft machinery assembly, testing and warehousing facility in Wincham, Northwich, giving it the space to develop the next generation of its machines.

“Forty years on, our business is more dynamic and energetic than ever,” says Matthew Kimpton-Smith.

“Thanks to the skill and commitment of our staff, we are now embarking on what we anticipate will be some of the most exciting years in its life.

“Our success in identifying the high-potential niche markets around the world where our engineering capability and experience will prove indispensable has been central to our longevity and will be critical to our future.

“Fast-growing markets like high-grade carbon fibre manufacture, subsea well intervention and technical recruitment offer tremendous opportunities for us in the next five years if we continue to dedicate ourselves to providing true innovation and value to our customers’ businesses.”

Cygnet Group has retained the prestigious Investors in People Accreditation

Published on November 17th, 2014

This represents a true commitment to employees and demonstrates a solid foundation of good practice which remains challenging and aspirational for many organisations.

Cygnet Investors in People - Cygnet GroupGroup joins an exclusive group of UK employers eligible to use and display the sought after Investors in People logo and enjoy its benefits.

Commenting on the award, Head of Operations, Stuart Parker said: “We are delighted to once again receive this much-prized and valued affirmation of the way we look after our staff.

“Cygnet Group colleagues have made a huge contribution in helping the Company to succeed and grow significantly in recent years. We value all our staff highly and we fully understand just how important all our colleagues are to the Group and its ongoing success.”

“We have high staff retention rates with many colleagues enjoying long associations with the Company. This loyalty and commitment demonstrates how much we value our staff and will enable us to go from strength to strength.

“We will review the results of our assessment and our Employee Loyalty Survey to look to further develop and improve the way we engage and reward our staff”

Investors in People offers a flexible, practical and easy-to-use business improvement tool designed to help organisations and their people achieve their objectives. More details of the scheme can be viewed on their website

Matthew Kimpton Smith speaks at NW Business Insider Event

Published on November 10th, 2014

Made-in-Cheshire-Logo_200x94On Friday 28th November 2014 Matthew Kimpton-Smith, Group Managing Director at Cygnet Group, will speak at the NW Business Insider Made In Cheshire event in Warrington; a business breakfast hosted by NW Business Insider editor Chris Maguire.

The purpose of this event is to highlight the importance of the manufacturing industry across the North West and beyond. Also the importance of how manufacturers in Cheshire are able to compete within a global market and how they are responding to key industry changes.

For further information on the event or to register your interest in attending please contact Claire Turnbull of NW Business Insider at or call 0161 907 9735