‘One of the hardest days of my life’ – BCT HR boss on shock closure

Victoria Potter, the former head of HR and training at failed Devon tile manufacturer British Ceramic Tile (BCT) said that the announcement on Wednesday of the firm’s shock closure was “truly one of the hardest days” not only of her career, but also her life.

Writing to her network on business networking site LinkedIn, Potter, who had worked in the business for more than four years, said: “Not one person I spoke to yesterday spoke about their own financial hardship, but how sad they were to be leaving BCT and their colleagues.

“Everyone cared and tried so hard to turn it around.”

She urged the recruitment agents in her network to get in touch with her at her work e-mail to pass on job opportunities for BCT employees made redundant after the firm’s collapse.

Potter wrote: “The business had colleagues hugely experienced in everything from design to IT, sales, supply chain, marketing, engineering and everything in between, so please take a look at their profiles and help them with genuine opportunities where you can.”

Meanwhile, other ex-BCT workers also took to social media to offer kind words to ex-colleagues as well as to look for new posts.

The company had employed about 380 people at its sites in Newton Abbot, Devon, and Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, before ceasing trading on Wednesday, January 30 as a result of the loss of a “key customer contract”.

This resulted in the company filing for administration and immediately making 313 of its workers redundant.

Jayne Adamson, head of brand and product marketing, wrote on LinkedIn: “Very sad news for all BCT colleagues and the industry. Still sinking in at the moment, but open to any discussions about marketing and product support obviously!”

Earlier this month, BCT announced that it had been crowned Made in Britain Member of the Year 2018.

At the time, Liam Poole, former head of customer marketing at BCT, said: “What a fantastic way to end the year. As a company we have enjoyed working closely with Made in Britain (MiB), and building relationships with likeminded businesses.

“The organisation is a perfect fit for us as a company, allowing us to communicate our British heritage and passion for UK manufacturing. We’ll be continuing to support the network into 2019, and hope to encourage more British businesses to do the same.”

“Another tiling manufacturer out of the picture. Concerning times…” wrote John Davies, store manager at Homebase in Altrincham.

Coventry-based Capitol Tile Group, which had 11 showrooms and four distribution centres, collapsed into administration last November.

Its wholesale and distribution business was bought by Tile Mountain chairman Mo Iqbal in a quick sale and BC Ceramics purchased six of Capitol’s former showrooms, tripling its retail estate.

In a trading statement for its last financial quarter to end of December, Topps Tiles, the UK’s biggest tile retailer, said the retail market backdrop was “challenging”.

Administrators at FRP Advisory said they are searching for a buyer for BCT – which has described itself as the UK’s biggest ceramic and glass tiles manufacturer in the UK in the past – and supporting affecting employees through “this difficult period”.

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