On Friday 24 June, the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, was on-site at manufacturer Silver Fox, highlighting the ongoing work of the rail sector in generating employment, skills and prosperity in difficult economic times.
During the visit, Shapps met with employees from Silver Fox and the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and was given a tour of the site. He also unveiled a new specialist printing press, among a range of other machines, at Silver Fox’s production site in Welwyn Garden City.
Silver Fox is a leader in its field, with Silver Fox labels being used by many sections of the industry, including Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL). It is also the only carbon negative manufacturer in its sector, promoting sustainable production in line with the Government’s net-zero ambitions.
The visit was part of RIA’s Rail Fellowship programme, which matches politicians to rail sites relevant to them and gives them a hands-on experience of what goes on in the sector day-to-day.
The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, said, “The British rail sector is a success story in generating jobs and prosperity. It contributes £43bn in economic growth every year and employs 710,000 people, spread across the country from hubs like Derby to Crewe, to local communities like my own Welwyn Garden City. The rail supply sector is rising to the UK’s economic and environmental challenges, exporting, innovating, and upskilling in a sustainable way.
“Silver Fox is a shining example of this, and their innovation in cable labelling is not only winning business in world markets such as North America, India and Vietnam, but also providing increasing employment opportunities at home.
“I’m delighted to be able to celebrate the success of Silver Fox and the rail industry as a whole. I thank the Railway Industry Association for organising the visit, and for all the work of their Rail Fellowship Programme in uniting politicians with the rail industry.”
The Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), Darren Caplan, stated, “Suppliers of all shapes and sizes play an integral role in the railways. Despite the disruption we are seeing, these businesses continue to support skilled jobs and provide economic opportunity and growth to communities right around the UK.
“Our Rail Fellowship Programme aims to highlight this work, whether that is in train manufacturing or areas such as cabling. And, so, we were delighted to see the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, on the Programme, and would like to say ‘thank you’ to Silver Fox for hosting us.”
Silver Fox’s Managing Director, Nick Michaelson, said, “It was fantastic to welcome our local MP, Grant Shapps, to visit our site in Welwyn Garden City, and to showcase our facilities. These new machines, allied to our increasingly knowledgeable and skilful local workforce, will further help us grow our presence in our niche market of labelling solutions – as well as cement our place as the UK’s only carbon-negative manufacturer of cable labels.
“The significant investments – in both plant and people – we’ve made over the last few years have greatly expanded our production capacity, bringing benefits not just to Silver Fox, but also to the whole engineering industry, offering users of Silver Fox labelling solutions unique time-saving options which, for a time-critical project, can literally turn time into profit.”
The new printing press, made by Nilpeter, which measures over 10 metres length, is uniquely configured to meet the growing needs of an expanding market and an expanding product range. It will allow Silver Fox to address inquires with even more rapidity and help to make them even more competitive across the globe – with everything made in-house. With increasing demand both in the UK and Internationally, Silver Fox will now support its growing customer base across the globe, ensuring increased sales and staffing to drive this growth.
Silver Fox (www.silverfox.co.uk) manufactures and supplies cable, wire, and pipe labels for use in a range of industrial sectors around the world including, among others, Rail, Data, Power, Construction, Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas. Founded in 1977, Silver Fox manufactures all its products in the UK and ships them globally, either directly or via an ever-growing network of distributors. Silver Fox tests its labels at recognised independent UKAS certified test laboratories in compliance with MIL and other standards. Additionally, Silver Fox is ISO 9001:2008 registered. Silver Fox’s commitment to global business was recognised in 2005 by the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – International Trade.
The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 300+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £43 billion in economic growth and £14 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 710,000 people. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK; for every £1 spent in rail, £2.50 is generated in the wider economy. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). www.riagb.org.uk
In the five years since its inception, the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme has attracted politicians including former Rail minister Chris Heaton Harris, and the last three Transport Select Committee Chairs. Secretary of State, Grant Shapps becomes the highest profile coup yet for the programme, which continues to go from strength to strength in connecting industry and politics. Find out more here