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Posted Tuesday 30th June 2015

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"We’ve had fantastic support from Bradford ATA which has taken care of the recruitment process."

Cutwel is a thriving family business in Cleckheaton that has been growing, despite the challenging economic climate. Now the company is investing in future talent by recruiting apprentices.

“We started from nothing,” says Mary Hawksworth, Company Secretary, who used to work for a local authority. “My husband Paul decided to start a business 29 years-ago as I started maternity leave with our son Ben. It was a very brave step with no guaranteed income, a mortgage and a baby on the way. We also had a total commitment to our customers and understood we had to achieve our goals to survive – and that has never changed! We recruited one salesperson and moved into our first office in 1997. Now we have 41 staff. We are proud that our longest serving employee, Nikki, has been with us for 23 years.”

Cutwel’s outbound sales team make around 1,200 calls a day. Their inbound and technical team deal with more than 300 customers daily, processing orders and giving information and advice on the latest technology available. The company has just opened a new metrology centre, which all customers can visit to see the latest innovations from the world’s leading manufacturers of measuring and inspection equipment.

Paul Hawksworth, Managing Director, explains: “We love the business and are constantly reinvesting in it. The recessions have been challenging but it’s a case of holding your nerve, and focusing on training during the quieter times.”

Cutwel has recruited ten apprentices through Bradford Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) – seven in sales, two in the warehouse department and one in information technology. The firm also has two former apprentices who have just been offered permanent jobs and been appointed Apprentice Ambassadors by Bradford ATA.

Paul continues: “Apprenticeships are a great way to get young people into the workplace. They have 12 months to learn new skills and gain a qualification whilst helping businesses to develop. At the end of that period both the business and apprentice should know if they are suited to one another. The transition from school to work can be difficult, and in some cases, may not work out.”

Mary adds: “In the past, we have used employment agencies to recruit staff but without great success. We’ve found Apprenticeships are a much better way forward for us and have developed our own in house training programme alongside CMS of Dewsbury who provide an excellent service with their tutors visiting us on site to deliver the NVQ training.”

“Our apprentices are not a short term solution – they are part of our team and we have high expectations of them all, with the opportunity of permanent employment as they achieve their qualification. We pay our apprentices considerably more than the recommended apprentice wage; £5 an hour for the first six months and then £7 an hour.”

“We like to think of ourselves as the Cutwel family. Everyone makes a contribution to the success of the business and is valued for their effort. If we hit our sales target, our employees earn a bonus at the end of the month. Our staff understand how each one of them plays their part, and treat one another and customers with the greatest respect at all times. That is the Cutwel Culture.”

Cutwel received free and impartial information and advice from Bradford Apprenticeship Training Agency, Church Bank, Little Germany, Bradford. The ATA sources apprentice candidates and deals with all the payroll and human resources services, billing the business monthly for those services.

Mary says: “We’ve had fantastic support from Bradford ATA which has taken care of the recruitment process. We are proud to say that both Shauna and Jack have been appointed as Apprentice Ambassadors by the ATA to help promote apprenticeships amongst young people. Ultimately, we must thank Paul for his bravery. If he had not taken the huge step of starting a business from absolutely nothing, none of us would have the careers or opportunities that we have today! Likewise, we believe that young people who are brave enough to start an apprenticeship have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”


  • Established in 1996, Cutwel is a family business that specialises in supplying precision cutting tools and machine tool accessories to the engineering industry throughout the UK and Southern Ireland.
  • Based in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, and has 41 staff.
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