A Colne Valley textile firm is hunting for people with knitwear manufacturing skills – to kick-start a job-creating expansion plan.
Spectrum Yarns managing director Richard Brown plans to transfer some of the firm’s knitting operations from its present location in Belper, Derbyshire, to its main site at Spa Mills, Slaithwaite.
But that calls for local workers with skills specific to the knitwear industry – a sector of textiles traditionally based on the Midlands – when West Yorkshire’s textile heritage is based on spinning and weaving.
It will start with three new jobs but grow to 20.
Mr Brown said: “If we can get three people with these skills that would provide the nucleus for us to develop a training programme with the Textile Centre of Excellence which could build up to a team of about 20 people.
“We could start a small ‘pilot cell’ straight away if we can get the right people.
“There could be people who have moved up here or people in the Pakistani or Indian community with these skills.”
He added: “Some of these semi-skilled jobs require a high degree of manual dexterity which comes from experience and practice.”
Mr Brown said the company had run out of space to expand at Belper and had been unable to find bigger premises in the area. He said he had extended the lease on the premises and there were no plans to close the Belper operation in the immediate or foreseeable future.
Transferring some of the work to Spa Mills, where Spectrum Yarns already has its spinning and dyeing operations, would make it easier to manage the knitting business
The firm, which employs 110 people at Slaithwaite and about 30 at Belper, makes seamless knitted garments under the Glenbrae brand – supplying sweaters to about 750 golf clubs.
Its products have previously received official endorsements from figures such as former Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance and Mark James.
The sweaters are made using high-tech machinery, but semi-skilled workers are needed to finish the v-necks and crew-necks on the garments.
Spectrum Yarns has been based in Slaithwaite since 1986. Its yarns, branded as Yarn Stories, are used by knitwear designers from all over the world.
The company also provided pattern books for hand knitters – even supplying the pattern for personalised garments with the legend “I’m Eddie’s Mum” for the Eddie the Eagle movie telling the story of daredevil ski-jumper Eddie Edwards.