Jerba Campervans fuelled by employee ownership
The decision to become employee-owned has paid off for Jerba Campervans owner Simon Poole and his wife Cath Brookes
A North Berwick company which manufactures bespoke Volkswagen campervans is on the road to success after becoming one of Scotland’s first employee-owned businesses.
Jerba Campervans changed gear to become 100% owned by its staff in January 2018 and in the months following has experienced a 11% surge in productivity, with revenue on track to accelerate 23% to £2.7 million for the year.
The firm, which is recognised by Volkswagen as a registered vehicle body builder, was founded in 2005 by husband-and-wife team Simon Poole and Cath Brookes.
It specialises in luxury conversions of the VW Transporter T6, which it sources for its clients from the German manufacturer, before transforming them into discreet and stylish homes on wheels.
“This is a rural firm and we employ people who love what they do. As a result, we’ve benefited from amazing loyalty from those who have been instrumental in building the business,” Mr Poole.
“Becoming employee owned was simply the right thing to do both morally and practically.
“It is safe to say that it has truly energised the place. Everyone is acutely aware of the importance of minimising waste and tackling projects thoughtfully and creatively – as it impacts the profit-sharing bonus scheme.
“As you may imagine, that is having a real impact on the business, too – and our productivity and growth figures for the year demonstrate what can be achieved with employee ownership.”
The company now has 15 employees and hopes to complete 55 vehicles in 2018 alone. It produces six models including both short wheelbase and long wheelbase versions of the T6.
In becoming employee-owned, Mr Poole and his wife transferred all shares into the Jerba Campervans Trust. The trust board is made up of one employee appointed by them, one elected employee and a person independent to the business, in Jerba’s case, an external accountant.
The co-directors report to the trust board, which ensures the business is being run for the benefit of the employees, with the founders’ shares paid back in a share of profits over the coming years.