Jonathan has been the driving force in the business since its inception in 1978 and remains very actively engaged with the daily operations.
Following his GKN apprenticeship, his early manufacturing and commercial experience proved an ideal entry to the recruitment market. After some experience working for a Guildford-based recruitment consultancy, he decided to break out, establishing the Jonathan Lee Recruitment brand from a base in Stourbridge.
Jonathan has personally recruited in all functions covering most industries at all levels. He has steered the business for four decades, providing 'solutions through understanding', putting the highest levels of service to clients and candidates above the drive for profit.
Jonathan now provides the vision for the business, overseeing strategic growth and development. Advocacy for UK engineering and manufacturing, engagement with industry bodies and customer engagement and satisfaction are his primary focus along with encouraging the next generation of engineers into STEM education.
His highly respected position in the recruitment industry led to Jonathan being awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals for his significant contribution to the recruitment industry over the last 40 years.
Jonathan is a keen sportsman and life member of Stourbridge Rugby Club. He also enjoys playing cricket, golf, tennis and skiing, watching motorsport and travelling. He is a former Board Member of the SAE (UK) and The Stourbridge Educational Trust and a former member of the CBI West Midlands Council
I hear all the time from candidates that the most frustrating aspects of looking for a new role are the lack of detailed responses to their applications and the sheer number of applications they have to make in order to get to an interview stage. Meanwhile employers and recruiters are having to review higher numbers of CVs more quickly to short list; in the months since the Coronavirus pandemic hit and lockdown started, we’ve seen applications for our open roles increase exponentially. There has been a serious shortage of suitable candidates in engineering, manufacturing and technology skillsets over recent years so you would think we would be happy about this, but it is concerning just how many highly skilled people are finding themselves having to look for something new. We want to ensure that during the current pandemic, we do not lose these valuable skills and experience from the sectors as happened back in 2009. 5 TOP TIPS TO GET YOUR CV NOTICED One size does not fit all When you are registering with an employment agency, it is fine to have a general CV to share with them but if you are applying for a specific role, your CV is your “representative” and unless it answers the requirements of the job advertised, you may not get the opportunity to sell yourself at an interview. It doesn’t have to take forever to do this effectively. Use the advert to identify the key skills or requirements the recruiter is looking for and prioritise them in your CV, listing them close to the top or in your summary. Make sure you have updated your LinkedIn profile too so that it reflects the skills you are listing on your application. Presentation matters If your CV is too busy or wordy, it can be hard for the recruiter to quickly pick out the skills and experience they are looking for. With increased applications, most recruiters are skim-reading CVs at the first stage of sifting. Rather than writing long paragraphs about previous jobs, put key information in bullet points. Leave some white space, even if this means your CV extends to an extra page. Be concise, pick out key responsibilities and achievements for each role you’ve held. List core skills that you bring and also key tools and knowledge that reflect the role requirement. Spelling errors show a lack of care and attention to detail. It’s important to check and double check before pressing send. Don’t repeat yourself Show flexibility One of the most important attributes that has been brought to the fore due to the pandemic is ability to deal with rapid change. Whether this is managing change, innovating to overcome problems of remote working or just maintaining the right mindset in a changing work environment. With smaller workforces, employers are looking for people who are adaptable, willing to get stuck in and work flexibly to meet the business needs and who bring a problem-solving, positive and proactive attitude and approach. It is worth highlighting these soft skills, if you have them of course, and thinking of how they can be demonstrated on a CV; through a project at a previous employer or perhaps as new training or skills that have been acquired during lockdown. Don’t paper over the cracks If you’ve had a period where you have not been working (a gap in your CV), don’t gloss over it. There can be many reasons for taking a break but if there is no explanation, potential employers may wonder why. It’s important to demonstrate that you have kept yourself positive during any down time. Highlight any study, training or travelling done during these times; maybe even volunteer work or personal projects that demonstrate you’ve been productive. A word of caution; don’t invent things. You may well be caught out later in the process. It is important that your CV is an honest representation of you and your experience. Get your personality across It’s easier said than done sometimes to get your energy and personality to shine in a written resume, but it can be the difference in getting to the next stage. Avoid clichés where possible and make sure your personal summary really reflects you, your interests and how these contribute to making you a rounded and employable individual. There is a balance to be struck though, don’t be too wacky or off-the-wall, remember it is still a professional document. It is possible to be professional without being boring. Check out our latest job listings here or register your details with us here.Jonathan Lee
It’s no understatement to say that the last couple of months have presented some of the most difficult challenges for UK manufacturing since I started Jonathan Lee Recruitment back in 1978. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for us all to adapt to new ways of working and to find innovative solutions to keep industry moving. I’ve always known that the UK has some of the best engineers in the world, but the way they have applied their considerable talents so quickly to support the NHS needs has been truly inspiring. We all, rightly, recognise the front line workers who are saving lives every minute of every day, and I thought it would be a good time for us to recognise and celebrate some of the manufacturing heroes who we have the pleasure of working with who have stepped in to support keeping everyone safe and healthy. MANUFACTURING HEROES AE Aerospace had employees working 24/7 to produce more than 6,000 complex turned / milled parts for ventilators within a fortnight of receiving a drawing. Arrowsmith Engineering responded immediately to the nationwide effort by creating a dedicated team to produce prototype and production parts for the Smiths ventilator assembly line. BAE Systems is supporting the national ventilator efforts, and is also 3D printing parts for a newly designed face shield. Jaguar Land Rover has started production of approved, 3D-printed protective visors for keyworkers, with the aspiration to develop the operation for mass production. Mondelez International has joined forces with engineering company 3P innovation to repurpose its 3D printing technology to help produce thousands of medical visors. Nasmyth Group is manufacturing key components for ventilators, bringing together the precision engineering expertise present in all 12 of its companies. Nissan created a parts processing line in the final assembly area at its Sunderland plant to sort and pack thousands of individual visor parts for shipping direct to the NHS. It’s impossible to mention every manufacturer who is contributing to the national effort but if you want to learn more, The Manufacturer has put together a list which makes interesting reading and there’s also information available on the Ventilator Challenge UK website. RECOGNISING INDUSTRY BODIES Supporting industry has been one of the cornerstones on which our business is built, and we are very proud of our industry partnerships. I’d like to give special recognition to our partners including Make UK, the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) and Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA) who have gone the extra mile to ensure their members are supported through webinars and online resource centres to lobbying Government for fair treatment for workers. PLANNING FOR RECOVERY This is a time of change and many businesses will come out of the crisis with a new set of needs such as respecting social distancing in the workplace, evolving IT infrastructures to support blended working models and analysing the workforce to identify the skills needed for the future. As we all start to plan for recovery, and as we have been for more than 40 years, we are here to help and support you. If you need some advice or input on any people related challenges, get in touch with me or one of the team.Jonathan Lee
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, the uncertainty and anxiety for all of us is high. For those seeking work and for the companies that desperately need to hire good people in order to get them through the current situation and to plan for change and recovery, it is equally unsettling. Staying safe and healthy is the single most important thing for all of us and I sincerely send best wishes for you and your families well-being. For over 42 years of operation, the Jonathan Lee Recruitment family has been providing recruitment and talent solutions that are flexible to meet the needs of both our clients and candidates, and whilst the pandemic presents challenges that none of us have faced before, I’m confident that our excellent team is committed to supporting the continuation of this. We’re deploying all the human and digital resources we can to keep our business moving, so that we can support you in doing the same. We are talking to our clients and candidates to understand what their most pressing questions and challenges are and how to change the acquisition and management of talent and resources to minimise the economic impact we are already seeing and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. I’m confident that our excellent consultants and support staff have the resolve and the team spirit to continue supporting our customers, even though we are operating at a distance. What’s my advice for businesses who are struggling with talent management and skills during the pandemic and beyond? Don’t panic Be flexible, adaptable and embrace change where it is needed Stay engaged with your people and your networks It’s good to talk - work in partnership to overcome challenges We have access to some of the best skills the UK has to offer and are mobilising interim resources to put the expert network we have developed over four decades in business to effective use in contingency planning, business continuity, IT solutions, operations, engineering and supply chain management. If we can support you in your business, we’d be delighted to help. Please get in touch with me or one of the team if we can support you in any way. Meanwhile I wish you and your families safe passage.Jonathan Lee
I am delighted to announce that our charity partner for 2020 is The Emily Jordan Foundation. Every year we take the opportunity to select a charity to receive money raised from our weekly dress-down Fridays. The Emily Jordan Foundation, a local charity, has been chosen because of the excellent work they do in supporting people with disabilities develop skills for the manufacturing workplace.Jonathan Lee
It’s not something we would normally shout about, but here it is: 97% of our clients recommend us We received some wonderful feedback from a recent client survey, and it is very clear that all the credit goes to our excellent consultants and support staff. They were praised for their industry knowledge, level of service, flexibility, friendliness and support, and were described as professional, high-calibre, responsive, helpful, consultative and expert. Well done to our brilliant team! It's so important to us that our people live and breathe our vision - to be the customer's first choice; so we were delighted to see some of the wonderful comments we received. Read on below... DON'T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT... “Excellent support from a knowledgeable team.” “Simple systems and a flexible approach to providing ongoing support to the candidates once they are placed.” “The culture, attitude and ability to assist has always been friendly, positive and reliable. Communication is interactive and responsive.” “The successful recruitment of a new FD in an international market within 8 weeks. Excellent support and focus delivered several credible candidates within a few weeks.” “Excellent, good quality candidates with appropriate skill sets and a real interest in making sure we get the people who not only suit the role but also fit into the company culture.” “Excellent service, candidates were especially well suited to my needs.” “Very good. Always extremely helpful and professional.” “Listened and understood our needs and sent suitable candidates.” “Relationship builders.” “Jon Lee has an ideal work ethic, staff are engaging and friendly. The company offers a reliable service and quality of candidates is up to client standard. Overall experience is and has always been excellent.” “I feel JL listened well to my requirement.” “Showed great willingness to go into detail to understand our company values and needs, in order to evaluate candidates who will be a good fit in our team.” “Always striving to provide a high-quality recruitment service to meet the demanding needs of industry.” “I like the customers first choice statement - if you really want that, you must continually strive to provide the best service - sends out a great message.”Jonathan Lee
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the official opening of AE Aerospace’s new 16,500 sq ft factory at Network Park, Birmingham. It is a success story that Peter Bruch, Managing Director and Co-Owner, and his team have worked hard to achieve and rightfully deserves recognition. I was most impressed with the factory, the machine tools and most importantly, the people. They have a wonderful culture and I can see why they have been so successful in growing the business and their team. Growth and Ambition at AE Aerospace The company has enjoyed incredible growth; over the past five years the business has more than doubled productivity with sales increasing seven-fold - exploiting growing customer demand for its components in a buoyant aerospace market. The new factory is a key component of their ambitious expansion programme that will give them four times the capacity of their previous Dymoke Street premises and will create 20 additional jobs. During the factory tour, we were shown four new Mazak 5-axis machines that will significantly reduce lead times for AE’s customers and giving them a much-needed 50% increase in capacity, to help satisfy contract wins, including more work with Boeing and Airbus. The company plans to double its turnover by the end of 2020. Secret to Success AE Aerospace is the perfect example of a business embracing innovation; the committed, uncompromising approach to improving productivity and driving efficiency is outstanding. I was also really interested in the story of how they have arrived at this point. Having visited the new factory, spoken to many of their team members and recently read Peter Bruch’s blog, I have been inspired and it has indeed made me reflect on my own business. I’ve picked out some key insights and takeaways from his blog that particularly struck home with me: Holistic approach - By analysing the whole business and not working in silos, the business can gain an overall vision and be most effective at improving the overall productivity. “From scrutinising internal processes to seeking support from experienced advisors, we must continue to take a holistic approach to business improvement if AE Aerospace is to fulfil its potential.” Resist quick fix – We are all busy people and it can be tempting to find a quick fix to a problem and move on, rather than finding and addressing the root cause. In order to achieve sustainable improvements, we have to take the time to get underneath the problem: “We have looked beneath the surface and broken down the barriers of our operation. Our priority has been to resist quick fixes, which is not always easy to achieve when you have myriad demands placed on the business.” Self-critique – It can be difficult, but it is important to be honest in assessing your existing practises to find the best route forward. “You must get back to basics. As a leadership team, we’ve focused on gaining insight into every nook and cranny of the business so that we can determine whether our processes and systems are fit for purpose.” Customer is (still) king – Throughout the development AE Aerospace’s capabilities, services and solutions, customers have been kept at the heart of key business decisions – adopting a servitization model is testament to this: “Our work with the Advanced Services Group at Aston Business School has allowed us to embrace transparent production and move to a model of servitization. Aston has helped us develop a glass factory where customers will eventually be able to utilise machining time by the hour.” Collaboration – It’s so important to work together, learn from others, speak to your supply chain, share knowledge and best practice: “Our growth mindset has led us to seek mentoring support from leading industry figures… BAE shared best practice around Hoshin Kanri, otherwise known as policy deployment.” Put the work in and embrace change – It takes drive and hard work to tear down existing norms and barriers. I admire how AE Aerospace have been tenacious in their approach to improve, encompassing everyone in the company to reach their goals. “Our success is the result of a lot of hard work. From machine operatives to senior directors, everyone has played their part in repositioning the business, driving efficiencies, boosting productivity and embracing innovation… An effective manufacturing business understands that it is driven from the bottom up and the top down." Right skills for the job – I truly believe that with the right people and skills, things happen – as does AE Aerospace. “We value our staff as our greatest asset” Congratulations AE Aerospace – I wish you every success in your new premises and ambitious expansion!Jonathan Lee
It was fantastic to attend the International Paris Air Show last week, networking at the world’s largest aerospace event. During the four-day event, Neil Cayley, Jason Cole and I formed a part of the British cohort – with the shared objective and passion to promote UK business and skills in the sector on a global scale. We took great pride in joining the 100+ UK businesses, in alliance with the ADS, WEAF, NWAA and MAA, who showcased British capability, innovation and leading-edge technology alongside the 2,469 strong international exhibitors. It is hard to articulate the positive feeling of camaraderie amongst our British peers, but there was an overriding theme of collaboration and celebration during the show and networking events – and it was wonderful to be a part of as always. During our time in Paris we attended the MAA British Networking Dinner sponsored by Nasmyth Group, held at Les Noces de Jeannette restaurant in central Paris. The event was organised and led flawlessly by Andrew Mair and the MAA team, providing warm hospitality and the ideal opportunity to relax with fellow UK businesses and celebrate Concorde’s 50th anniversary. I also attended the ADS industry reception at the British Ambassador’s residence in Paris, sponsored by Martin-Baker Aircraft. It was very positive to hear British Ambassador to France, Ed Llewellyn, and Business Minister, Andrew Stephenson MP, speak about the importance of the UK aerospace industry. In the face of Brexit, there has never been a better time to demonstrate the capabilities of the UK aerospace sector and to build our international connections. The show provided an invaluable platform to showcase our capabilities, engage with customers and reach key decision makers. Learn more about our aerospace, aviation and defence specialisms.Jonathan Lee
I am thrilled to be attending the International Paris Air Show later this month alongside Neil Cayley and Jason Cole. Taking place between the 17-23 June 2019, it is the world's premier and largest event dedicated to the aerospace, aviation, defence and space industry. The event, which takes place every two years at Le Bourget International Airport on the outskirts of Paris, is the longest-running aerospace trade show, having first taken place in 1909. Since its launch, the Show has been at the very heart of developments in the global aerospace market and an important meeting place for the entire supply chain. I am looking forward to finding out about the latest technological innovations, catching up with many of our clients and candidates we have placed over the years, meeting many of the 2,300 exhibitors, networking with fellow WEAF, MAA, and NWAA members and hopefully seeing one of the impressive flying displays. OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN AEROSPACE AND AVIATION The aerospace and aviation industry has entered a golden age, with record order books and skyrocketing passenger traffic, driven by an expanding middle class in emerging economies. If the global commercial aircraft fleet is to double by 45,000 aircraft in the next 20 years, industry needs to tackle a series of challenges in order to gain sustainable, profitable growth. The risks associated with the vast opportunities will no doubt form a major point of discussion during the show. The implementation of new programmes and industry 4.0 technologies, changing consumer demands, industry’s relentless pursuit of cost reduction, pressure on the supply chain to keep up with demand, geopolitical and economic volatility, skills shortages and the upskilling of existing workforces are but a few obstacles facing the industry. SEE YOU IN PARIS! If you are attending the Paris Air Show and would like to meet either Neil, Jason or I during the Show, then head to our dedicated Paris Air Show webpage where you can book to see us. Find out more about the Show: siae.fr/en/Jonathan Lee
I was delighted to recently attend and sponsor the Pedmore Sporting Club Celebrity Luncheon where guest of honour The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid, Home Secretary and MP for Bromsgrove, made an address and answered attendees questions.Jonathan Lee
As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations I was delighted that some of our former colleagues were able to join me for lunch at the Britannia Bromsgrove Hotel and Spa on Sunday.Jonathan Lee