Yorkshire based Venari Group, the UK’s leading emergency services vehicle producer, have announced a £10 million equity investment from shareholders to secure both long term support for their customer focussed innovation programme together with skilled British manufacturing jobs. The business remains committed to delivering the highest standards of quality and safety, most recently demonstrated by the extensive design, development, and crash-testing of its latest range of NHS Fiat Ducato Double Crewed Emergency Ambulances and Ford Transit Patient Transport Service vehicles. These are being built to the NHS and Department for Transport’s GB Whole Vehicle Type Approval safety requirements, including CEN BS EN 1789:2020 for DCAs, which will be verified by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).
Venari Managing Director, Mark Brickhill, announcing the investment said “Venari’s ambulances are built and tested to the very highest standards which are subject to VCA Conformity of Production auditing once certified. Our paramedics, crews and patients deserve nothing less and I am proud of our team of engineers, skilled coachbuilders, auto-electricians and fabricators who together have made this possible.”
Ensuring these high standards sees the group uniquely placed to embark on a significant increase in ambulance production for the NHS, its supporting private fleet operators, and export customers. Deliveries this financial year will top 800 vehicles, with the ambition to grow further in the coming years following the latest investment, together with a likely consolidation of production at the Group’s site in Goole which this year celebrates 35 years of British manufacturing. Venari’s latest innovation is an industry-leading all-electric Ford Transit Patient Transport Service vehicle which was unveiled at the Emergency Services Show, at the NEC, in September.
To ensure that the business remains cost-competitive via the consolidation at Goole, Venari have also announced their proposal to cease production at their second site in Brighouse. However, to support the overall production increase, if that proposal comes to fruition, the company intends to offer all their shop-floor workers comparable roles at Goole, together with financial incentives to retain them. Brickhill further commented “this investment will allow us to offer more highly skilled British jobs, together with a growing apprenticeship programme, in Goole which is the UK’s oldest, and largest, ambulance manufacturing site. We are starting the employee consultation process today to ensure that together we both maximise job retention and deliver the best value to our customers.”
Venari’s envisages significant further investment at Goole driving production efficiencies, increased capacity, speed and improved customer service, whilst streamlining operations and supporting the Group’s commitment to being carbon neutral by 2027. The company’s investment plans will see it continue to develop as a specialist vehicle converter. This year already over 100 armoured vehicles have been delivered to Ukraine, a state-of-the-art Drone Command Vehicle was showcased at the Emergency Services Show together with partner Heliguy, and the Venari Team are currently developing a new high-tech range of Rapid Response Vehicles using light-weight materials from the aviation industry to minimise weight.
The company has also announced it is in negotiations to potentially sell its firefighting division to former CEO, Oliver North, securing some jobs in the Brighouse area, following a period of due diligence and employee consultation. Mr North’s new business, North Fire Engineering, will then continue vehicle production and equipment distribution into the firefighting industry supported by its world-class engineering, production and sales team.
Brickhill concluded by saying that “Venari will continue to invest in Yorkshire with over 90% of our supply chain spend supporting other British businesses. That is why there is a 2.4 times return for every pound invested by the Government in Britain. I therefore urge the UK Government to buy British, which will both protect skilled manufacturing jobs and support our economy.”