AF Switchgear Acquires VAR

AF Switchgear Acquires VAR Services Ltd

After utilising VAR Services Ltd for many years the board of directors an opportunity arose to acquire VAR Services which is an excellent fit for the AF Switchgear Group, completing the purchase of the company in June 2021.

Managing Director Ian Foster said:

“VAR Services offer a comprehensive range of power quality solutions which are requested by AF Switchgear customers frequently. We knew how good VAR Services are from experience, as we have had a long-standing relationship with them utilising their products and services often. It really was a natural fit for us and helped bolster not only in-house expertise in relation to power quality but increased our portfolio of direct offerings to our clients as well”.

So, what do VAR Services offer and why did AF Switchgear acquire them?

The combination of reliable power, increasing energy costs and ever-growing focus on the environmental impact these days highlights the clear need for effective power quality.

VAR Services offer Power Factor Correction Solutions, Active Harmonic Filters, Voltage Stabilisers, Load Monitoring and Surge Protection etc.

What Do VAR Services Ltd Offer?


  • Power Factor Correction (PFC)
  • Detuned PFC Equipment
  • Active Harmonic Filters
  • Real-Time PFC Equipment
  • Maximum Demand Alarms
  • Energy & Power Quality Metering Systems
  • Lightning Surge Protection
  • Constant Voltage Transformers
  • Voltage Stabilisers/Optimisers

  • Power Factor Correction Surveys
  • Repair & Maintenance of PFC Equipment
  • Servicing of PFC Equipment
  • Servicing of Active Harmonic Filters
  • Metering – Supply, Install & Commission
  • Data Logging & Load Monitoring
  • Voltage Event Recording
  • Harmonic Monitoring & Analysis
  • Power Quality Monitoring & Reports
  • Thermal Imaging Reports
AF Switchgear Apprentices 2021

New Apprentice Intake 2021

2021 has seen a record number of applications for our Panel Building Apprenticeship Scheme.

Spokesman Lee Speed from West Nottinghamshire College states, “Interest this year has been unprecedented in the electrical sector, with over one hundred applications for apprenticeship positions within AF Switchgear”.

Following a series of college assessments, interviews and practical assignments we are delighted to announce five new apprentices who start their 4-year Level 3 BTEC and NVQ qualifications.

Panel Building is an ideal entry into the electrical industry, giving successful candidates the opportunity to develop their electrical engineering careers.

From all at AF Switchgear, we wish them all every success for the future.

#apprenticeships #careerdevelopment #futureengineers

From left to right – Alexander Peeters Weem, Joel Harrison, Holly Parker-Tinklin, Spencer Whittle & Harry Russell

Apprentice of the year award


In partnership with our training provider, West Notts College it was with pleasure that we were once again able to present this prestigious annual award.

Despite all the challenges thrown at our apprentices, not least those of virtual classrooms we are very pleased to announce that we had two outstanding candidates whom the awarding authority voted for to receive the award.

Both having demonstrated excellent qualities in a number of key performance-related categories in regard to their individual training plans.

So on behalf of all staff at AF Switchgear, congratulations to:

Jack Glebocki – Fabricator and Welder Apprentice
Kai Lancashire – Electrical Apprentice

Presented by Managing Director, Ian Foster and Operations Manager, Mike Ratcliffe both received a trophy, a £250 tool voucher from our sponsor Protrade Tools and Fixings plus a box of our very own AF Switchbeer!

Techincal Director Mike Harris

Techincal Director Mike Harris Retires

After 23 years of loyal service at AF Switchgear, our Mike Harris retired his role yesterday on the 31st March as Technical Director.

He started his Engineering Career in the West Country (Cornwall to be precise!) well over 50 years ago before moving onto senior roles at Applied Energy and Brentford Electric.

Mike’s achievements over the years have had an immense impact on our company and through ingenuity and passion, completely changed the way we build and operate today.

It is no exaggeration to say, the whole team has benefited from Mike’s experience and technical guidance over the last 23 years, and for that, we owe him a debt of gratitude.

Fortunately, though we are not having to say goodbye quite yet!

Mike will be working for AF Switchgear in a part-time consultancy role from next month, assisting in product development and technical assistance.

So from all the staff at AF Switchgear, we wish you well Mike and we look forward to working with you on the other side!

Achilles Member

Achilles BuildingConfidence Advanced

In addition to our Achilles TransQ Global accreditation for the Transport sector, AF Switchgear can now proudly announce that the company is now also a validated Achilles BuildingConfidence Advanced Member for the Construction sector.

Achilles is a Supply Chain Management system which collects and validates supplier data to mitigate risk. Achilles use a registration process, risk models, comprehensive pre-qualification questionnaires and (for advanced members) a two day audit, to create a platform where buyers can find qualified partners and suppliers who can prove their credentials.

Achilles work across 10 sectors and more than 20 countries.

AF Irm

Covid-19 Update

At AF Switchgear we have a dedicated Incident Response Management team under the umbrella name ‘AF irm’. As a result the team have produced a risk assessment to ensure our employees and visitors are working safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The risk assessment sets out safe systems of work in order to manage the risk within the business and sets out measures to ensure social distancing. Emphasis is also placed on the physical and mental wellbeing of all employees by introducing appropriate cleaning and hygiene procedures across all Group activities. 


AF Switchgear upgrade to EFACS E/8

Enterprise Resource Planning – in other words, ERP!

AF Switchgear is pleased to announce that with the help of our key partners at Exel Computer Systems plc, we have recently migrated to the new EFACS E/8 Enterprise Resource Planning solution.

This is a major step-change for the organisation and involved a complete review of all legacy processes. The E/8 system was stress-tested to ensure that the technology and automation features coupled with the design innovation as a package, met our needs as a business and delivered the immediate benefits we were looking for.

Now the new ERP system is in place, further enhancements and modules will now be added to improve production scheduling, stock control, shop floor data capture plus field service reporting which will follow later this year.

Special mention must also go out to Richard King and Lee Harding both from Exel for their support throughout the whole process.

Stan Carter

25 Years Anniversary – Stan Carter

AF Switchgear we are fortunate to have many long-term serving employees established in our workforce.

Stan Carter is no exception; having reached his 25-year milestone just recently, Stan was presented with a bottle of bubbly and some holiday vouchers by our Operations Manager, Mike Ratcliffe to celebrate this milestone achievement. Stan joined AF Switchgear back in 1995 from Sutton Riley Engineering as a Switchgear Panel Assembly Team Leader and has remained a valued member of the Production Team ever since.

In those days, there were just 15 production staff building AF Switchgear panels; today there is more than 80 production staff, so Stan has certainly seen some significant changes and growth over the years! On behalf of the company, we wish to congratulate Stan and thank him for his many years of service to the company.

*presentation and photo were taken just before lockdown phase

AF Switchgear logo

Open Evening Update

AF Switchgear was due to hold a specialist Open Evening in conjunction with the West Nottinghamshire College Apprenticeship Service on the 25th March 2020. However, due to the current Coronavirus epidemic, we have regretfully decided to cancel this event.

We have a duty of care to our employees and those of the public so have decided, in-line with the current government and proposed advice the company felt it had no choice but to cancel the planned event. This is a decision that has not been taken lightly particularly given the numbers of invitees that were due to attend the event, currently well over 100 people.

On the bright side, the WNC is still planning to run assessments on the 15th and 16th April, so candidates should be aware that they will still need to attend those. After the assessment period, low key visits for selected candidates including their guardians will be arranged.

Again, special thanks to Ricky Singh and Lee Speed for helping with this recruitment drive, your efforts are very much appreciated and Good Luck to all the candidates.

Switchgear apprentices

Open day and job opportunities AF Switchgear

AF Switchgear will be teaming up with West Nottinghamshire College’s apprenticeship service – Vision Apprentices – to offer careers advice on a range of vacancies.

On Wednesday 25 March, from 5pm-8pm we will be opening our doors for a specialist open event at our Nunn Brook Road site to enable prospective job applicants to find out more about the business and a range of job vacancies.

New apprentice recruits are required in electrical panel building, fabrication and welding, IT and business administration.


Tutors from Vision Apprentices will be at the event to discuss the apprenticeships, what the roles involve and there will be a tour of the factory and office facilities for guests to speak to employees, including current apprentices, engineers and administration staff about their jobs.

Anyone wishing to attend should register with college recruitment expert Lee Speed by calling 01623 627191 ext 8159 or email him at


Open day and job opportunities AF Switchgear


Current electrical engineering apprentice Sam Allen, 18, said: “Things are going very well for me here. I’ve just finished working with my mentor and I’m now working more independently on jobs and really enjoying things.”

Apprentice business partner Ricky Singh said: “This open event will be the perfect opportunity for people to learn more about these roles within a well-established company which specialises in switchgear and control panel applications.

“There could be the opportunity to apply for vacancies at the open evening should individuals have the pre-requisite qualifications.”