Workoola, Launched by Redundant Entrepreneur, Reveals Major Expansion Plans Creating 100 Jobs

Rana Rihan, founder and managing director of Workoola, with Chris Robinson of WeDo Business Services

Leeds-based Workoola, a business launched in 2021 by young entrepreneur Rana Rihan following her redundancy during the pandemic, has announced a significant expansion that is expected to create approximately 100 new jobs over the next year.

Initially founded with just three employees, Workoola began as a provider of temporary, fixed-term, and permanent staff for various sectors, including manufacturing, food production, transport, warehousing, logistics, and distribution, primarily in Yorkshire and other parts of northern England. The company offered positions such as factory operatives, pickers and packers, fork-lift truck drivers, HGV and van drivers, as well as supervisory and management roles.

Driven by rapid growth, particularly after obtaining a Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) license, which regulates businesses supplying staff to the UK fresh produce sector, Workoola’s recruitment division expanded swiftly. This license enabled the company to provide workers to the sector.

Simultaneously, Workoola developed strong connections within the glass manufacturing industry in West Yorkshire and expanded its services to include quality control for jars and bottles used in food and beverage products like sauces, yogurts, and liquors. With 30 employees based at an 11,500 square-foot warehouse in Stourton, Leeds, and an additional 15 staff members in its recruitment arm located in Beeston district, the company has outgrown its current facilities.

Rana, aged 29, expressed the need for a larger site in the Leeds area, totaling approximately 30,000 square feet, to consolidate Workoola under one roof. This expansion plan aims to accommodate the new glass decoration division and recruit around 100 individuals over the next 12 months.

Workoola’s growth aligns with the rising demand for glass containers by food manufacturers as an alternative to plastic packaging. Rana stated, “Because of Covid and Brexit, companies had difficulty sourcing staff, and the recruitment side of the business quickly took off. We have placed hundreds of people in roles over the past 12 months. Now we are GLAA accredited, we are able to expand this side of the business further.”

Workoola continues to receive valuable support and guidance from WeDo Business Services, which initially provided seed funding and assistance to the company. WeDo, headquartered in Oldham with additional offices in Salford, Sheffield, Bromsgrove, Swindon, and Colchester, offers a range of services to small and medium-sized enterprises, including invoice and trade finance, start-up funding, accountancy, HR, back-office, IT, digital, and payroll support, with a specific focus on the recruitment sector.

Chris Robinson, a co-founder and director of WeDo, praised Workoola’s impressive growth and success in the recruitment and glass industries. He highlighted Rana’s leadership, which not only created employment opportunities but also transformed the company into a multifaceted business serving the needs of glass container manufacturers. Robinson emphasized WeDo’s pride in supporting Rana as a young entrepreneur and expressed enthusiasm for the ongoing partnership with Workoola, assisting in various aspects of the business and contributing to its continued growth in the future.

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