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The man behind the sheet metal | Interview with Managing Director, John Penman

Fife Fabrications (FiFab) is one of the most advanced manufacturers of precision sheet metalwork, electromechanical assemblies, and precision machined components in the UK, offering a complete service from design for manufacture support, to manufacturing and full customer delivery.

From humble beginnings working in the Inspection Department over 33 years ago, John Penman is now the Managing Director and reflects on the 50th anniversary of FiFab, its commitment to investing in its people and its strong relationships within the local community.

Established in Glenrothes in 1972, FiFab has grown massively since its inception and has stayed true to its core service of precision sheet metalwork since the beginning.

Speaking about FiFab’s 50th year, John said,

“It’s so important to celebrate the fact that a business has thrived throughout the ups and downs in the economy and the world over the past 50 years. Fife Fabrications is now in a position where it employs 114 people, providing jobs and security for all those families within Fife. All of our staff are local to Fife and that’s something that we’re proud of, it’s in the name – Fife Fabrications.”

Thanks to John’s leadership and a continuous investment in development opportunities, FiFab has a low turnover of staff. Creating local jobs, taking on local apprentices and working with local suppliers is a huge focus for John and the team at FiFab.

As well as that, John has a strong reputation across Fife for being hugely invested and involved in creating a future talent pipeline of young people, not just for Fife Fabrications and the careers that are available within it, but across all sectors within Fife. John is a board member of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Fife and has links with Lochgelly High School where him and his team can often be found delivering employability workshops and educating the young people on the work experience opportunities available to them.

When asked what makes him so passionate about investing in a local future talent pipeline John said,

“The way I like to think of it is, someone invested a huge amount of time and effort into me and my career when I was younger, and I now have the responsibility to take all of the skills and knowledge that I’ve developed over my career to pay it forward to the younger generation.

“I want people to come in and progress within FiFab. We currently have seven apprentices at different stages in their four-year programmes and we plan to recruit a further three apprentices this year. I can’t wait to see their careers grow.

“You can spend millions on capital equipment but if there’s no pipeline of talent to operate it, then what’s the point?”

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