Oldham Seals Group

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Oldham Seals Group'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 Oldham Seals Group 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
Joint Managing Director
Bespoke rubber pipework
Oldham Seals Group provide polymer-engineered products
to a wide variety of sectors and clients. Embracing
the latest in automated manufacturing, they aim to
ensure total standardisation across their product range and
are committed to developing innovative solutions to support
their products. This includes embedding microchips in their
pipe systems to keep track of maintenance and to predict
problems before they arise. Managing Director Chris Oldham
Since 1964, we have been designing and manufacturing polymer-engineered
products for a variety of industries, including naval and civilian shipping, as well as
the oil and gas sectors. Our company was established by Charles Oldham and since
then has specialised in designing and manufacturing Jetpac pipe systems, which we
sell worldwide. Over the years, we have refined our product range and continued
to develop our design solutions.
Embracing automation
We provide tailored rubber pipe systems to a wide range of warships and
submarines, including supplying the Royal Navy. To ensure consistency in our
products, we have recently implemented an automated robotic manufacturing
process. Utilising this new technology, we are now able to manufacture a
variety of products for the Royal Navy with a greater level of uniformity than
was previously possible with human engineers. Human engineers will always
»Managing Director:
»Established in 1964
»Based in Chichester, Sussex
»Services: Pipe systems for
naval and commercial shipping
and the oil and gas sectors
»No. of employees: 89
Oldham Seals Group
have different nuances, which may
impact the standardisation of a
product range. Robotic manufacturing
produces a far higher level of
consistency. This new process also
helps to prevent waste by almost
entirely eradicating the existence of
any rejected products.
While this significantly increases our
standardisation, it does not impact or
decrease our levels of employment.
Rather than replacing staff, it merely
creates new roles. This increased
automation creates the need for a
new type of operator, replacing the
traditional fabrication process.
Our manufacturing process
incorporates every possible type of
product within our field, from hydraulic
hoses to more complex rubber pipe
systems. We are able to design and
produce all of these items on-site, a
service that is unique to our company.
This range allows us to service all the
possible needs our clients require in
one location.
The Jetrac Services division of our
company is another element that
sets us apart from our competitors.
Through this division, we are able to
provide an inventory management
service that maintains and tracks the
pipe systems that have been installed
on individual warships. We employ
radio-frequency technology to embed
microchips in our products, enabling
us to assess their performance and
predict any possible issues that may
arise. This knowledge allows us to
foresee potential problems and devise
solutions for them, avoiding potentially
costly and complex maintenance
further down the line.
Our focus on solving issues on-site
has also led us to design a process
of manufacturing that is rigorously
planned and tested. Our research and
development testing is all in-house,
Jetrac Services inventory
management system
We provide
rubber pipe
systems to a
wide range of
warships and
supplying the
Royal Navy
Highlighting best practice
and all of our products are type
approved before they are fitted to
warships and submarines. We ensure
that all the products we manufacture
have been type tested, including
impulse and fire tests, along with tests
that check for a long life expectancy.
Recruitment issues in the
One of the biggest challenges we
face is sourcing skilled and qualified
engineers. The south coast used to be
home to multiple large engineering
businesses, but they have almost all
disappeared in our location. In the
last couple of years, it has become
increasingly difficult to source the
employees we need.
This problem is exacerbated by the
increased availability of higher-paid
but shorter-term jobs. While we may
not be able to match the wages
offered by these other employers,
we offer careers, rather than just
basic employment. As we expand,
the need for new recruits only rises.
The job agencies with whom we
work are also struggling to provide
us with recruits for our research and
Brexit threatens to inflame these
difficulties further. In the past, we
have hired a large number of highly
skilled European workers. These
workers almost always have the
engineering qualifications and levels
of expertise required for our type
of specialised production. Brexit
may prevent us from accessing this
recruitment source, and the level of
knowledge and practical experience
that they offer will be very difficult
Brexit also threatens our contracts
with other European nations.
Presently, we conduct business with
a range of European governments,
providing a similar service to their
respective navies as we do with the
Royal Navy. It is our firm belief that
the UK’s membership of the EU was
a contributing factor in us securing
contracts within the EU. We are
concerned that we will find it more
difficult to be awarded these contracts
Looking forward, we aim to expand
our current premises further. We
have planning permission for a new
research and development facility on
our current site. We require further
industrial space to continue to grow,
but this is very expensive in the local
area, and there are very few large
industrial units nearby. Unable to
find adequate alternatives in the
surrounding area, we have decided to
develop our existing site instead.
By embracing the latest in automated
manufacturing and continuing to
refine and perfect our range of
products, we have been able to grow
and develop. We hope that we can
find a new generation of engineers to
help us to continue to expand.
It is our firm
belief that the
of the EU was
a contributing
factor in us
contracts within
the EU
Automated product
design facilities


This article was sponsored by Oldham Seals Group. 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