Sabeti Wain Aerospace, an upholstery and foam manufacturing company, supplies airlines worldwide. It is a British firm with its head office in the UK and large manufacturing plants in Dubai and North Carolina.
Paymen Sabeti, the company's director, shared his concerns about Brexit and the skills challenge he fears it will create.
Sabeti said: “For the first probably 10 years of our 35 years... all our sewing machinists and cutters were British. They tended to be of Indian, Pakistani, English [background]. We had no issues recruiting manual workers. Then, there was a problem. The workforce we had, who were very skilled, started to retire.
“We found that their children were not coming in with the same skills or the same interests in manual work, and we were really truly panicking until the doors opened and we had an influx of very good skilled workers, from all over eastern Europe especially. Suddenly, work picked up. Manufacturing picked up."
"Now, probably 80% of our manual workers are from eastern European countries," Sabeti noted.
A potential saviour
Sabeti commented: “Our concern is: will these people be allowed to come to the UK for these jobs? Sometimes we are told: ‘The ones you have can stay.’ Our issue is they tend to stay for a number of years and then they want to go back home. They stay two, three years, save up some money, go back home.
Sabeti warned: “We need to have a constant influx and turnover of staff, and that really concerns us. Without them, we will not be able to manufacture in the UK. We know that 100%."
He added: "Therefore, we're looking to expand our plant in Dubai especially. There is no shortage of skilled workers there. They have a scheme where you can sponsor and bring in workers who work specifically for you and once their term finishes, they have to go back. That really would be our saviour, this system.”