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Precision Orthodontic Laboratories

Funding for training and part-payment of wages enabled a dental laboratory owner to recruit his first member of staff and set the enterprise on the path to growth

Support helps dental technician get his teeth into new contracts

Image of precision orthodontic team New opportunities are opening up for dental technician James Anthony, who once had to turn down a prestigious contract with a top sports team because he was operating his small business on his own.

Today – following help from the Welsh Government – that same contract is in the bag and his central Cardiff-based orthodontic services business is poised for more expansion as a thriving family concern.

The turnaround was made possible by the ReAct II scheme, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund. It brings workers facing redundancy together with employers seeking skilled staff. Up to £3,000 can be made available to subsidise the new employee’s salary in addition to funding support for retraining.

Two years ago James had the chance to supply protective mouth guards to the stars of the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team but felt he had to decline because he didn’t have the staff capacity to deliver fully on the deal.

But after recruiting and training his brother Richard, who had just been made redundant from his local authority job, he found the breathing space needed to develop the business and now it’s full steam ahead for his firm Precision Orthodontic Laboratories.

The Devils contract has been followed by deals to supply Glynneath and Glamorgan Wanderers rugby clubs, and a major marketing drive is being launched to target more top teams in South Wales and beyond.

Precision now carries out work for around 15 dental and orthodontic practices across South Wales. With Richard helping to run the business, James has been freed up to undertake research and develop new products and services to further fuel their growth.

We certainly wouldn’t be where we are now without the help from the Welsh Government. It has enabled us to broaden our horizons and freed up the time to really look at developing the business

For example he has been able to been able to introduce South Wales’ first new generation 3D digital imaging scanner, which is seen as the future of dentistry and is expected to produce another significant boost to the business.

As well as studying dental technology part-time at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Richard is also bringing valuable organisational and administrative skills to Precision based on his previous employment in Cardiff Council.

James said: “I had been by myself for about five years and it was difficult to find any way of expanding. I certainly didn’t have the capacity to supply elite sportsmen. Now I can. It is all happening at a time of great opportunity and we intend to look at other cities, too.”

A further member of staff has now been taken on and the new developments are carrying on alongside standard orthodontic appliance work and general dental services such as teeth whitening and night guards for teeth grinding. The company is expecting to significantly increase its 2013 turnover of £100,000 during the current year.

“We certainly wouldn’t be where we are now without the help from the Welsh Government. It has enabled us to broaden our horizons and freed up the time to really look at developing the business,” James added.