Fifty new jobs created in Fakenham as Kinnerton chocolate factory expands to meet demand
- Credit: Ian Burt
A chocolate factory which is the largest employer in Fakenham is set to expand its permanent workforce in the run-up to the Christmas period.
Kinnerton confectioners, in Fakenham, will recruit for 50 new permanent roles, as well as taking on up to 250 staff on temporary contracts.
HR director Dean Hunter said: 'We try to balance out our permanent and temporary roles.
'The purpose of the expansion is to deal with the forecast we have for the Christmas period.'
He added that, going forward, the factory needs to strategically increase its workforce to cope with demand for their products.
They anticipate demand based on sales forecasts from major retailers.
Mr Hunter added: 'We're confident going forward with this recruitment.'
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'We had a tough year in 2016 with trading conditions, but prospects are good for the future, and markets are buoyant.
'Over time, we hope to become less complex, and, increasingly, fantastically efficient in terms of our core capabilities.'
The factory permanently employs 650 staff members on site, in a variety of roles.
The new managing director at Kinnerton, Dominic Lowe, who started in the role in October 2016, has been aiming to simplify the business, including production.
The focus has shifted from lots of smaller production runs to fewer, bigger ones, hopefully allowing the company to maximise profits in the future.
And this expansion comes as the firm gears up for the Christmas and Easter periods, with teams being expanded in order to fulfil major contracts with brands such as Marks & Spencer and Magnum. They also produce themed products, including Paw Patrol, Trolls, and Paddington Bear.
Last year, the company recruited for an extra 100 permanent positions.
Mr Hunter said that the company hopes this year's round of recruitment will have a 'positive' impact on the Fakenham area and community.
He said: 'We know our employees, and a decent proportion of them live in and around Fakenham. They use the shops and services.'
He added that the company hopes that, as the biggest employer in the area, they can offer a boost to the local economy.
Mr Hunter said: 'We're looking to become more involved with the community, and be seen as important to Fakenham.
'It's our home.'
Fakenham town mayor, councillor George Acheson said: 'We welcome Kinnerton being a successful business, as it is very important for the town.'
However, he expressed some concerns that the new jobs may go to agency workers rather than Fakenham residents, adding: 'But it is good to have a successful business here.'