We are nearing the end of another year: one that has been challenged once again by the effects of Covid-19, further complicated by the energy price crisis, and had global environmental events brought into juxtaposition by the 2021 COP26 Conference. 

In what has been a significant 12-months for our industry, we first celebrate the tenacity and commitment of our hardworking team, who have repeatedly demonstrated a remarkable ability to perform ‘Above and Beyond’ and continue to safely deliver services for customers, despite the year’s unexpected events. 

Together we’re treating the experiences we face as opportunities to develop and learn how to navigate the changing times we’re working within. As we modify business practices accordingly, we resolutely assure all our partners that safety continues to occupy its place as front and centre at EPC-UK.

Recruitment drive

The final quarter of the year saw the end of the Government’s furlough scheme, which to date, has had a smaller than feared impact on unemployment with staff shortages in sectors including logistics and heavy goods transport helping to cushion the worst anticipated effects.

As such, our own route to recruit has been gathering momentum, and we are keenly welcoming employment applications from individuals looking to embark on a career within the drilling and blasting field. With employee wellbeing prioritised and training and development opportunities frequently presented, we have furthered our recruitment associations with ex-service resettlement organisations and have this month become a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, confirming our position as a forces friendly employer. 

Economic forecast

The economy’s efforts at recovery continue to progress, albeit at a decelerated pace. After c.7% growth this year, the Bank of England expects GDP growth of 5% in 2022 and 1.6% in 2023, depending on Covid-19’s future impact. Hopefully the economy will adapt in light of the recent emergence of the Omicron variant and the continuation of established vaccination and booster jab programmes. 

Energy and sourcing

The current volatility of the energy market will affect us all into next year. During this unprecedented time, we are waiting to hear an updated decision on the future of UK, AN manufacturing plant, CF Fertilisers.  We are continuing to lead activity and work with the Mineral Products Association, Confederation of British Industry, Institute of Chemical Engineers and CBI Explosives Industry Group, involving ourselves in their discussions with BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy). Be assured that we are monitoring and sourcing in the market as a whole and have implemented business continuity plans to ensure continued supply into the new year. 

Changing horizons in 2022

2021 has been an impactful year that has presented catalysts bound to demand change and our agility as an organisation has been tested. Our business has never stood still in terms of progression, and with a significant programme of technological advancements scheduled for the forthcoming twelve months, we feel a sense of anticipation and promise lies ahead. Undoubtably we will face unexpected challenges along the way.  EPC-UK’s ability to adapt and agility to respond within the market, combined with our collaborative working approach and the capabilities of our dedicated team, will stand us in good stead for whatever the year may bring. 

For now, and on behalf of everyone at EPC-UK, I wish you all the very best for a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Ben Williams
Managing Director, EPC-UK