Willcox Matthews are a technical and engineering recruitment specialist, founded by three friends and colleagues. Director Matt Reynolds has spent his whole career in recruitment, with 12 years at the same technical recruitment company and rising to Principal Consultant, before co-founding Willcox Matthews in 2018. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Willcox Matthews respond?
I believe there will be two major trends that will shape the future of the plastics industry. The first, which is the obviously large elephant in the room – Brexit, but more specifically the relationships the UK Government builds past that point; which countries we build new relationships with and what their requirements are for polymer-based products. The second is Government legislation and incentivisation schemes with regards to recycling. It is highly likely we will see the Government introduce further legislation regarding single use plastic, whether that be a partial restriction e.g. on certain products, or with the aim for complete abolition.
I think it’s fair to say regardless of the outcome of Brexit, it’s unlikely that the need for plastics will reduce and if anything will increase with more and more products traditionally made from wood or steel being replaced with plastic alternatives. The polymer industry both in the UK and globally is expected to grow by 40% over the next decade with petroleum companies already investing $180 billion into facilities manufacturing raw plastic materials.
With that in mind, Willcox Matthews will continue to evolve and adapt in line with the market – enabling both our clients and candidates to thrive in future market conditions.
How has Willcox Matthews developed during your tenure?
It seems like yesterday that we opened the doors on our first day but already Willcox Matthews has progressed and developed more than we could have imagined. Our background has always been Injection Moulding/ Plastics and we’ve continued to thrive in this sector, covering the whole of the UK & venturing further into Europe.
We have a lot of goals for ourselves and the business which we’re all striving to achieve. It’s hard work but we love what we do! We really look forward to growing the team here at Willcox Matthews in future months, to allow us to establish ourselves as the go-to plastics recruitment partner.
What do you credit as the key to your success?
I’ve been very fortunate to work in Plastics Recruitment for over 11 years now and have also done industry-specific training at the Polymer Training Innovation Centre (PTIC) along the way. Having a thorough understanding of the industry has really helped me personally build long-standing relationships with clients.
There’s that old saying ‘Work Hard, Dream Big’ – this is something me and the guys in the office are big believers in. Recruitment can be very tough at times, you face a lot of lows, but it can also be very rewarding. We’ve been very fortunate to have great support behind us and work with some leading industry clients, so we can only hope this continues.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
The greatest challenge in my career so far has been juggling running my own business, satisfying customers’ needs and desires, and finding time to spend with my partner and two young daughters. Finding the right balance has always been important to me and my co-directors of the business – admittedly not always an easy task!
What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an Apprentice joining now?
I wish someone would have told me to “be more confident in your abilities and yourself.” When I started out I had no idea if I would do well or whether I would even enjoy it, but it’s 11 years later and I am still learning and enjoying every single day. Don’t get me wrong, there are testing days too but learning to take the positives each day and ride the highs is what makes this career all worthwhile.
My best advice to a new person would be to listen and learn. Very simple advice but crucial in this industry. The more you know, the better you will be at your job. The recruitment industry has never been a 9-5 mentality and going above and beyond for customers and clients is just a way of life. It makes the difference between a good consultant and an excellent one.
What hidden talents do you have?
It has been a while, but I am able to turn both eyelids inside out. Not a pretty sight, for sure, but it does go down well at kids’ parties.
I am also the reigning champion in my household at Guess Who, Junior Monopoly, Hungry Hippos, Kerplunk and Uno. I’d rather not talk about Connect 4 though. Sensitive subject.
I’m not sure to what extent these can be called ‘talents’!