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 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