Pharos Group Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Pharos Group 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 Pharos Group 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
Ray Apted, chairman
Pharos FES – 1,250-kVA-rated diesel
generator installation, London
Pharos is a state-of-the-art engineering service and support
group specialising in aerospace, nuclear, automotive,
telecommunications, energy, defence and machine tools.
With facilities in Coventry, Kenilworth, Leicester, London,
Bristol, Worcester and Runcorn, it provides design, manufacture,
consultancy and support services. Chairman, Ray Apted,
discusses the Group’s horizontally integrated structure, the
quality of its employees, its commitment to high technology and
the challenges that face British manufacturing.
Being chairman of a business identified within the top “1000 Companies to Inspire
Britain” has been rewarding. I was with PLCs from my mid-20s and filled my days
with the minutiae of corporate life. Detail, growth and share price dictated the
days. In my mid-40s life became more fulfilling. I purchased, improved and sold
several businesses, which generated personal freedom.
One of the businesses I acquired was a small tooling company. It was this business
that developed into Pharos. This was over 20 years ago now and business remains
challenging and fun. Using this company as the base, the Pharos team built the
group. Several businesses started in managers’ spare bedrooms and most have
proved highly successful. Some businesses were acquired and given the opportunity
to grow.
The Pharos team developed a business model based on the importance of our
people, customers and suppliers. We eliminated unnecessary meetings and reports
to give freedom to decision making.
»Chairman: Ray Apted
»Established in mid-1990s
»Based in Warwickshire
»Services: Engineering and
support for aerospace,
nuclear, automotive,
energy and defence sectors
»One of the the London Stock
Exchange’s “1000 Companies
to Inspire Britain”
Pharos Group Ltd
Experience dictated Pharos’s horizontal
integration. It reduced risk, increased
management independence and
enhanced stability. All Pharos
subsidiaries operate independently
of each other, although cross-
fertilisation of ideas and opportunities is
encouraged. Accounting, legal, banking
and secretarial activities are all located
at Group HQ in Warwickshire. General
managers (GMs) run their businesses
and are responsible for all assets,
especially the well-being of their people.
GMs understand expectations, make
decisions and develop markets using
their teams rather than a sales force.
This is how Pharos has become an
exporter into some really tough markets.
The nine Pharos subsidiariesare:
»Gear Technology
»Building Services
»Generator Services
»Broach Technical Services
»Field Engineering Services
»Explosive Ordinance Disposal
With a global presence, Pharos
was awarded the accolade, by the
London Stock Exchange, of being
one of the “1000 Companies to
Inspire Britain”. This award resulted
from growth in performance and the
Pharos employees have a deep-seated
devotion to the company. Indeed,
there is a special sense of common
values. Pharos management fosters the
culture through which all employees
are encouraged to connect with their
work and to ask for support and
understanding when it’s needed.
They have contributed unstintingly
to the success and stability of the
Group. Pharos has the usual contracts
of employment but these are largely
disregarded when an employee needs
support. Often Pharos has to control
employees’ zeal when they want to
contribute even when ill, injured or
have family problems. We have a
As part of our employee-centric nature,
training has a growing place. We have
for years trained people to degree level
and offered apprenticeships. Lack of
UK skills means that we have to train
people to run our advanced CNCs.
These skills are not available in the
UK even though these are required if
the UK is going to increase its game.
Lack of skills makes it even more
challenging for SMEs because the large
organisations can quickly drain the
talent from a very limited pool.
Pharos EOD Contracts – site
investigations, Thames, London Regrind of fir tree broach tool used in aerospace
disc manufacture
All Pharos
of each other,
although cross-
fertilisation of
ideas and
opportunities is
Highlighting best practice
High technology
Pharos purchases the best equipment
available in the world. This goes for
quality control and manufacturing
processes where we have to have
similar or better facilities than our
Pharos also manufactures some of
the best equipment in the world.
In London, Platarg transferpresses
lead the globe. Almost 1,200 Platarg
presses operate across the world and
they represent the current state of the
art. Growing demand for these high-
speed presses is coming from Asia,
America andEurope.
One of the major issues that we face
is the lack of toolrooms. Over the last
20 years these have disappeared and
trying to get tooling manufactured
in China and India is a huge
problem. We experience first-hand
how the UK engineering sector has
Unlike many other governments, the
UK government shows disinterest in
business generally and certainly does
not understand or have empathy
with manufacturing. Business needs
consistency and stability for it to
flourish. Manufacturing cannot be
turned on and off. The UK requires a
25 to 30-year plan to be developed
urgently and a “buy British” policy to
be adopted. We’ve given away most
of our markets in the last 40-50 years
and many of them we will never get
back. Our model is Germany where
the support for industry is diametrically
opposed to the UK. Does anyone
really think that Germany would allow
BMW or Mercedes to go the way of
Leyland Group? Does anyone really
think that assembling cars or trains
has the same economic impact as
As for leaving the EU, let’s get on
with it. Pharos is not concerned by
the impact, although it will have
an adverse impact on some UK
businesses. Pharos has always found
that continental Europe is reluctant to
allow companies like ours to succeed,
something especially true of France
where barriers are clearly operated.
Have a look at the equipment used in
the French and German armed forces.
See how much is made in their own
countries and how much outside. Now
look at the British MOD.
Our customers, suppliers, employees
and the UK economy is a group
dynamic that represents opportunity.
Pharos has a great future and the
Group will continue to grow and make
an ongoing contribution to the UK.
Pharos has a
great future
and the Group
will continue
to grow and
make an
to the UK
Pharos BTS – aerospace
machine installation, USA

This article was sponsored by Pharos Group 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 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