The new troubleshooter has returned to the region to see how his advice has been put into action at a North East manufacturer.
Business and community leaders joined former CBI Director General Lord Digby Jones at a special event to mark the launch of a new Ebac Group factory, which is bringing British-made Norfrost chest freezers back to the market.
The Ebac Group welcomed “The New Troubleshooter” to see the fruits of the project, on which he worked with the company as part of his BBC2 TV series earlier this year.
Lord Jones was joined by Ebac managing director Pamela Petty, the new North East regional director for the EEF – The Manufacturers’ Organisation, Liz Mayes, and Dr Jon Helliwell, director of the Centre for Process Innovation, for a debate on the future of UK manufacturing, which was chaired by Graham Robb, North East Chairman of the Institute of Directors.
Ebac bought the Norfrost brand and equipment in 2013, and has set up the new factory, on Heighington Lane, Aycliffe Business Park, to breathe new life into the popular brand.
The freezers are already available to buy through Argos and Amazon.
Pamela Petty, Managing Director of Ebac, said: “It was fantastic to not only have Digby back, but also to welcome people from across the regional community to witness the start of a new era for Ebac. The revival of the Norfrost brand is the start of our move into domestic appliances, with washing machines coming next year.
“In the UK, we need to acknowledge and support the public’s belief in British made products by manufacturing more of them and making them available to buy. The positive effect this can have is widespread, and the jobs such manufacturing would create will improve the lives of those involved and the economy as a whole.”
Former Trade Minister Lord Digby Jones said: “I feel as if I have come home – there is a degree of belonging here.
“Business is not about screaming ‘you’re fired’ at people. It is companies like this working in a community, generating wealth.
“There is nothing wrong with making a profit – without it you don’t get taxes that pay for hospitals and schools. This is what real people do.
“We have to get out into the towns and cities and tell young people ‘if you skill up you will make money. If you don’t you’re toast.
“It never crossed my mind that Ebac would not succeed in this venture. I am very proud of this family and this facility.
He added: “We must be proud of our region. We must get to Westminster and tell people that we matter more than Scotland. We deserve our time in the sun.”