Carrick Signs

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Carrick Signs's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Carrick Signs is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Managing Director
Carrick Signs headquarters
Next time you’re driving home, take a look around at the
advertising boards and banners you pass – as Carrick Signs
could well have printed them. From their headquarters in
Whitefield, Greater Manchester, Carrick specialise in producing
indoor and outdoor signage. They print direct-to-board graphics
on almost any rigid substrate, producing PVC and mesh banners,
self-adhesive vinyl, pavement signs, posters, roller banners and
exhibition displays. Managing Director Amanda Roscoe tells
about the work they’ve done for
some high-profile clients, and how important it is that they stay
adaptable and agile in the face of industry difficulties.
We print advertising boards, campaign boards, placards, life-size person cut-outs,
shop signs, window graphics, vehicle wraps, pull-up banners, exhibition pop-up
stands, posters, canvases and even on doors.
We deal with both commercial and retail clients across the country, the bulk of
whom are marketing, print management and design companies. Our extensive
appearance working across these myriad sectors enables us to partner aptly with
any signage, printing or exhibition company and offer the personalised service
required by each individual end-user.
My beginnings and setting an example for others at Carrick
In 1991, I began my career in Bury as a screen printer. Over the 16 years that
followed, I gained a wealth of experience in the industry, without any formal
training or qualifications. I left school and went straight into work. I wanted to earn
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 2007, owned
solely by Amanda since 2015
»Based in Whitefield, Greater
»Services: Specialist printing for
indoor and outdoor signage
»No. of employees: 24
»Forecast turnover for 2018:
»Key clients include BBC, ITV,
Cancer Research, the RNLI and
Total Fitness
Carrick Signs
money and wasn’t interested in further
education. I worked hard, listened to
people and started analysing the way
we did business. I suggested ideas and
identified areas for improvement, but
management were adamant that their
way was the only way. I grew more
and more frustrated, soon becoming
confident that I could do things better.
I continually recognised areas for
potential growth but was unable to
persuade management to diversify.
In 2007, a client of mine showed
serious interest in bringing their screen
printing in-house and asked if I could
manage the offshoot.
This allowed me the freedom to
develop my ideas, and I quickly
made my mark. Our growth was
so substantial that we soon began
servicing a vast range of other clients
alongside our in-house work. In 2011,
after four years at this department, we
moved to larger premises and became
Carrick Signs, and the following year I
was made director.
In 2015, I was afforded the
opportunity to buy the company. I
took it and have never looked back –
our turnover has since doubled, and
the company has had to move once
more to larger premises. The size of
our workforce has also more than
doubled over the past six years.
A vast and valued customer
Our clients include the RNLI, Cancer
Research, BBC, ITV, Total Fitness and a
great many councils across the country.
We always strive to treat our customers
as we want to be treated, and many
of them have been with us since day
one – indicative, we believe, of the
outstanding service they consistently
receive. This is also testament to the
quality of our fantastic staff team,
who are helpful, knowledgeable and
experienced – each member has a
comprehensive understanding of the
business and can thus deliver excellent
assistance on any given job.
Our clients love the fact that an order
is taken from enquiry to fulfilment by
the same person, which provides a
real sense of continuity and efficiency
for each individual account. We have
even received a variety of testimonial
quotes from former and current
clients praising the co-ordination and
organisation of our processes.
We don’t focus on pleasing just our
customers, either. Over more than
11 years, we have forged strong,
trusting relationships with our machine
suppliers and now regularly hold print
demonstrations and tutorials on their
behalf for companies interested in
purchasing new machinery.
Printed placards
making an impact
One of Carrick Signs’
production areas
Our clients
love the fact
that an order
is taken from
enquiry to
fulfilment by
the same
Highlighting best practice
Weathering the storm
In 2015, I purchased the business
outright, and everything ran smoothly
up until Boxing Day of the same year.
At that time, northwest England
was devastated by Storm Eva, and
our entire factory was submerged
by floodwater from the nearby
All of our equipment was lost. This
was a really dark period for us, and
dissolving the entire company seemed
like a real possibility. Had it not been
for the tremendous dedication and
support of our staff, customers and
suppliers, this could well have been
the outcome. Over three years later,
I can look back at the events of that
Christmas period and boldly say that
the flood made us far stronger as
Thankfully, the storm has since been
consigned to the history books. In
December the following year, we
moved to a new 10,000-square foot
site – which was nowhere near any
body of water. Our turnover has
since consistently increased, and the
forecast for our future growth and
development is incredibly positive.
Exploring apprenticeships –
bridging an industry gap
Although I can only speak to our
workforce’s incredible strengths,
the signage industry and British
industry more widely is suffering from
something of a drought with regard
to young skilled workers. It seems to
us that more and more young people
are opting to go to university than ever
before; while this does not mean that
we presently suffer from recruitment
issues, the same may well not be true
in a decade or two.
To counteract this issue, we are aiming
to explore more new apprenticeship
schemes over the next year. We have
four members of staff who have joined
our workforce straight out of school,
and they remain working with us a
great many years later.
Investigating fresh possibilities
in untapped markets
Throughout our history, we have
grown more by word of mouth
than any kind of advertising. Rather
than putting money into dedicated
marketing campaigns, we have
historically invested profits back into
the latest technology and machinery.
It’s imperative that we constantly look
at new ways to print bigger, better and
faster while maintaining the standards
we’ve become renowned for. We
pride ourselves on investigating
opportunities within niche new
markets, and we always try to find
areas to grow by offering the customer
what they can’t find elsewhere.
We use a variety of in-house websites,
developed and coded internally, to
target specific or new areas of print.
This year, we look to target the interior
design sector with an incredible range
of personalised wallpapers.
We will continue to change our business
to suit a dynamic market. By developing
and strengthening relationships with
our clients and suppliers, we endeavour
to provide high-quality, technologically
advanced solutions for our customers’
ever-changing needs.
The signage
industry and
British industry
more widely is
suffering from
something of
a drought
with regard to
young skilled
Amanda and the team
at Carrick Signs

This article was sponsored by Carrick Signs. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy