VEHICLE specialist Minibus World has doubled its workforce and is looking to recruit again after moving into expanded new premises.
The company has taken on 12 additional staff in the last six months to bring its workforce to 25. Now it hopes to recruit at least five more employees as demand for its new CanDrive range of products takes off.
CanDrive has been developed by Minibus World, in Knypersley, in response to the needs and requests of its clients.
The business specialises in van to minibus conversions, and its CanDrive Light, built at its factory, is currently the only 17-seat, 3.5 tonne minibus in the country that can be driven on a car licence, subject to certain conditions.
Office manager Martin Thomas said: “We successfully applied for Regional Growth Fund (RGF) money which enabled us to move to bigger premises at Tunstall Road Industrial Estate, from Silverdale, in October.
“As well as the larger premises, we’ve taken on more staff as we build more vehicles.
“The main part of the business is van to minibus conversions with between three and 17 seats, including the option of removable seats for wheelchair users.
“Our clients include schools, charities, care homes, taxi firms, community transport, and voluntary groups, with our coachbuilders tailoring the minibuses to our customers’ specifications.
“This can include electric lifts, ramps, side steps, grab poles, removable seats and storage.”
The ongoing recruitment drive will see the business take on sales and database executives, a delivery driver, plus a number of skilled staff including a mechanic and more coachbuilders.
Meanwhile, the business is developing its van sales, hire and fleet services, and it is also working on the development of electric minibuses.
But Martin said the freedom offered to customers via the CanDrive range is also driving the business forward.
As well as the CanDrive Light, the range includes the Flexi, which offers the option of increased storage space, Maxi, suited to groups of passengers aged over 16, and EasyOn, with improved access for wheelchair users.
He said: “Car licence holders who received their licence after January 1997 cannot normally drive a minibus over nine seats.
“The CanDrive allows teachers, charity workers, and community workers who have a car licence to drive a minibus with up to 17 seats, without expensive additional training or licences, as long as there’s no payment from or on behalf of the passengers.
“Drivers must also be over 21 and have held a licence for two years, while the maximum weight of the minibus should not be more than 3.5 tonnes.
“We’ve now invested in two demonstration minibuses to show clients what we can offer them.