Business case study: Cornelius

Cornelius are an Independent European distributor of speciality chemicals and ingredients with operations in UK, Eire, France, Poland, Russia and Scandinavia and sourcing offices in China and India.

1. Please can you give us an overview of what your company does ie: the sector in which your business belongs, what your product base is and what the aims of your business are?
Cornelius is an independent multi-national distributor of chemicals. We supply into the cosmetic and personal sector, health & food, Industrial as well as the pharmaceutical markets.
We buy our products from all around the world and our customers are based in the UK, Europe and Russia.

2. Which sectors does your business service/ do you provide products to?
Please see above.

3. How many people do you employ/ have on site?
Cornelius Group employs a total of 138 employees worldwide and we have 55 employees based at our head office in Bishops Stortford.

4. What types of people do you like to employ? And what skills and background are required?
We employ people who are willing to work and want to develop and have a good attitude. Depending on the job vacancy this will define the skill set that we need.

5. Have you recently noticed any skills shortages? If so, in which areas?
We did have problems trying to find an Area Sales Manager with experience in the Meat Industry. It took us at least 6 months to find someone and they do not possess everything that we desired but they are the best that we had seen.
We are also struggling to find a Transport Executive. We have had several CVs and interviewed a number of candidate’s but they are not suitable.

6. How do you see the industry changing in the future?
For the chemical industry the biggest challenge is the legislation and regulations which will only increase.

7. How do you see your business changing in the future to reflect industry changes?
Our Quality & Regulatory department has increased from 3 to 5 personnel to reflect the changes and to ensure that we are compliant.

8. Do you see the skills you require from your employees changing?
The business is constantly changing as we have to be one step ahead of our competitors and consequently the skills we require from our employees will change to reflect

9. Do you foresee any future skills shortages?
Not at the moment

10. What core skills would you recommend that new entrants try to attain to help their career?
Obtain good grades in English and Maths and good social skills to be able to communicate at all levels within the business. Having the right attitude just because you are a graduate does not necessarily mean you are better than someone who is not a graduate. Common sense is vital.

11. What advice would you give people considering a career in the chemical sector?
Depending what they want to do in the chemical industries. For example our sales teams are technical so they have a good technical knowledge of the product. Most of the sales team do have a chemical degree of some kind.