JJ Churchill Ltd.

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by JJ Churchill Ltd.'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 JJ Churchill Ltd. 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
Andrew Churchill, executive
A future secured with significant
capital investment
Walter Churchill founded JJ Churchill Ltd on Christmas
Day, 1937. After reading engineering at Cambridge
and later working with Armstrong Siddeley, he
established his own business subcontracting to them. During
the Second World War, he fought with 605 Squadron as
squadron leader in the Battle of Britain.
In 1942, during the Siege of Malta, he was tragically shot down, and it was then that
his wife Joyce Churchill, current executive chairman Andrew Churchill’s grandmother,
took the business over. Having reached their 80th anniversary this year, the company
has grown over those eight decades, based now in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire,
where it employs 146 people. Their engineering background is an outstanding one,
as is their link to British aerospace history. If you see the Battle of Britain Memorial
Flight Hurricane flying anywhere, you can rest assured that it’s Walter Churchill’s
original plane and the only one remaining that was operational both now and then.
Though aerospace precision engineering is where our background lies, we also
provide components and assembly work for high-horsepower diesel engines,
typically for off-highway applications such as mining and oil and gas. My
grandfather worked with Sir Frank Whittle, and therefore we can proudly say that
some incarnation of JJ Churchill has been involved with the development of gas
turbines and the jet engine from day one.
Keeping all stakeholders a priority
When I joined the business 16 years ago, we lacked vision. Subtly, different people
were pulling in different directions and affecting the business. I decided to redefine
»Executive chairman:
»Established on Christmas Day,
»Based in Market Bosworth,
»Services: Aerospace precision
»No. of employees: 146
»Turnover: £20 million
»Founder Walter Churchill
fought in the Battle of Britain
»Historically involved with the
development of the jet engine
and gas turbine
JJ Churchill Ltd
this, and focus on one thing: we
want to ensure long-term profitable
growth for all our stakeholders, of
which we identify five different types.
First come the employees – they are
the most important. We identify our
customers as being second, our local
community third, suppliers fourth and
As a private company, we can afford
to have the shareholders last in the list,
and we recognise that if you look after
your employees, you get the best from
them. That’s beneficial for everyone else
in the chain – with the monumental
quality required for any work in our
sector, absolute diligence is necessary.
Our values need, then, to reflect
the values of our workforce. After
extensive consultation, we illustrated
each of our values with unedited,
direct and anonymous quotations from
our employees to ensure we could
understand and communicate the type
of business of which we all wished to
be a part. We focus also on creating
interest for our industry at an early age
– visiting local primary schools at least
once a year helps not only to secure
the future of our workforce, but breaks
down cultural barriers concerning the
male-dominated nature of our sector.
Growth past, present and
We are planning to treble the
turnover of the business over the
next four years through supplying a
larger, global base of civil-aerospace
engine manufacturers and looking
at opportunities on the other side of
the Atlantic. We are winning large-
volume, long-term contracts with civil
airline companies, and starting to
compete on the global stage. This is
thanks to our being a technologically
advanced, innovative and cost-
competitive engineering company that
can compete internationally, despite
working from the UK in an economy
with a comparatively high labour cost.
While our turnover is set to treble,
through the application of advanced
technology we anticipate a slower rate
of increase in workforce numbers. We
want each of our employees to count,
utilising the technology at our disposal
to ensure we can become a true
global player and continue to retain a
Previously, with our focus on small
development projects, our cost base
was just far too high. Now, better
understanding what we excel at,
A new apprentice’s
We can
robotise and
investing in
the skilled
staff we need
while better
talent fields
Highlighting best practice
and what we have here in the UK –
great education and great access to
technology – we can robotise and
automate, investing in the skilled staff
we need while better remunerating
those advanced talent fields. Playing
to the advantages of our UK location,
we have moved from small batch
manufacture towards automated
volume production.
With a huge number of large airliners
coming into service, the market is
definitely buoyant and, though we’re
a small company with a turnover
under £20 million, we continue
to substantially invest in people,
technology and innovation. With our
order book already at well over £100
million, the future looks bright.
Operational and educational
It’s about making the product and
getting it out of the door to the
customer, and the operational
challenges that have come with
our success are nonetheless good
problems to have. We have had to
rework the skillsets at the top of the
company, and looked for someone
who would suit not the business that
we are, but the business that we will
be. Mark Cooper, our new managing
director, took over the business
in January 2018, and has made a
Another issue is the skills gap: we
don’t know if we will be able to
find the skills we need fast enough.
Upskilling of existing staff combined
with recruitment on the open
market will not, on its own, deliver
a sufficient volume of new skills.
To this end, I provide my own time
to improve the appreciation and
opportunities offered throughout
local schools, ensuring that we
have a steady flow of potential
Continued, focused growth
For the moment, we are focusing
heavily on this predicted growth from
under £20 million turnover to £60
million by 2022, but it won’t end
there. I’m pleased that we plan to fund
that growth internally, as it’s a good
sign – we want to remain independent.
A family-owned business of our size
in this sector is unusual; most similar-
sized competitors have long since been
bought out. Remaining independent
will enable us to be both agile and
take a commanding position in the
industry as future opportunitiesarrive.
Finally, we anticipate a greater
proportion of our activity will come
from overseas business. The products
for which we are renowned and the
technologies we have access to really
do lend themselves to the export
market – when, not if, this comes
to fruition, JJ Churchill and I will be
immensely proud of ourachievement.
We continue
to substantially
invest in
technology and
With our order
book already
at well over
£100 million,
the future
looks bright
Gas turbine blade


This article was sponsored by JJ Churchill Ltd.. 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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister