Bluetree Group, the online printing group based in Rotherham, has agreed a contract to produce 352 million medical grade face masks for the NHS.

The deal is part of the Government’s Make initiative, intended to harness UK production power, and will see Bluetree produce masks at a rate of 1.7 million a day at peak capacity. As a result, the business is on track to double its workforce, taking on 400 new employees. 

Bluetree Group first opted to diversify its business back in March, following an appeal from the World Health Organisation, which called on the manufacturing industry to help increase face mask production by 40%.

‘This contract gives us the opportunity to help produce millions more much-needed surgical masks for NHS and frontline workers using our specialist machinery and team of skilled machine operators,’ said director Adam Carnell.

‘This is a period of significant growth for Bluetree Group and we’re looking to recruit 400 people in total to help meet increased production demand. Roles we’re recruiting for include machine operators, engineers, lab technicians and logistics professionals. Our priority is ensuring those who need these items most get them, and we look forward to growing our exceptional team.’

Health minister Jo Churchill added, ‘The response from Northern Powerhouse companies has been phenomenal and I can’t thank them enough for their commitment to the national drive.

‘Every health and care worker must have access to PPE and through this national effort we are building more resilient, UK-based supply chains to guarantee an uninterrupted flow to the frontline.

‘We have already struck deals with around 30 UK companies to manufacture PPE and over 100 suppliers to deliver items at scale and pace. We will continue to identify further opportunities to get more PPE to the frontline rapidly.’