120 jobs created by Seachill as Grimsby seafood giant hits record levels

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 19 Sep 2018

Grimsby seafood processor Seachill is creating a further 120 jobs following its major contract win with upmarket retailer Waitrose

The business, brought back into British ownership late last year, is just completing the expansion of its prominent South Humberside Industrial Estate base, where 140 jobs have already been created in recent months. 

Nestled alongside the A180, it is one of the firm’s two huge facilities straddling the gateway to Grimsby.

And, despite the closure of a neighbouring meals site, the business is now 20 per cent bigger than when it operated, with staff numbers doubling on Estate Road Two from 250 to 500, as its existing Tesco business and Saucy Fish Co brand both thrive. 

Simon Smith, chief executive, said: “This is the result of growth of existing business and new contracts that have come in that will have been working on for years. These are exciting times. The total business is bigger than it has ever been, it is a real success story. Added value, coated and deli production is bigger than ever, including when we had the meals site, it is a record size now, and we need more people.

“Further Waitrose work will be in production very shortly and we are seeing rapid growth across the rest of the business. We are really driving the categories and driving sales.” 

The Estate Road Five site was subsequently taken on by Seagold, under the Ice Fresh brand, as it dramatically expanded operations in the town.

Read more: Saucy nets healthy eating award for second successive year

Mr Smith said much of the visible work is to future proof and modernise the facility’s plant and energy needs, to provide the resources for the new lines, with the bulk of the work within the factory “the massive investment” in new lines and associated equipment.

Many of the roles – all permanent – will be for an immediate start, in the next fortnight. “We are confident and have had quite a good response,” he said. “We are offering a long term future in a very successful organisation. The business has never been more successful than it is now and it is set to be even more so. We have to underpin that with good people.” 

Seachill, part of the Hilton Food Group, has taken significant steps to widen its appeal as an employer too, creating family-orientated four hour shifts that fit with school runs and evenings, while also creating roles for 16 year olds too. 

And while the additional roles will be production focused, opportunities for existing employees to climb the career ladder will be spelled out once the recruitment drive is completed.

Read more: Radio Two foodie broadcaster Nigel Barden to give his voice to UK Seafood Summit

Suzanne Wilkinson, the site’s human resources adviser, said: “We are taking full advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy, offering internal progression to anyone who wants to step up to senior roles.

“We have really expanded our scope, recruiting from 16, though absolutely not to take advantage of the minimum wage. If they are packing a box next to a 25 year old they will be paid the same.  We have developed roles in the factory in line with legislation, and created roles specifically with them in mind.

“There are also a lot of people out there, who could do a really good job, but may have childcare issues that make work prohibitive. We have worked in 10am to 2pm shifts and 6pm to 10pm shifts. If we can make it work production-wise, why wouldn’t we? If we can remove the barricade, why wouldn’t you? We know we can.” 

With the 120 figure based on full time equivalent positions, it could mean it is swelled further. 

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