A Northumberland company made famous for launching the “onesie” sleepsuit has been praised for its commitment to training and hiring young people.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery says the partnership between Northumberland College and The All-in-One Company in Ashington is a blueprint for the future of apprenticeship training.
All of the company’s onesies are handmade to bespoke designs created by customers through its website.
It employs 21 people, a mix of experienced machinists, cutters, quality control inspectors and two apprentices and has customers in more than 150 countries. Last year, the company turned over more than £1m.
Kate Dawson, director of The All-in-One Company, said: “We wanted to take on apprentices because there is a very real danger that traditional skills like cutting, sewing and embroidery will die out.”
Northumberland College’s business development team worked with Kate to create bespoke Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships in textiles.
She said: “Putting together courses especially for us was just amazing, it means the training is bespoke just like our company.”
Northumberland College offers more than 40 apprenticeship frameworks and works with over 700 companies across the region.
Stuart Cutforth, principal and chief executive of Northumberland College, says the college’s relationship with employers like The All-in-One Company has had to change to tackle the North East’s acute skills shortage:
He said: “It’s about designing programme delivery at times that suit employers, in a place where they want it and working to a curriculum that fits with their company needs.”
In August Mr Lavery highlighted the achievements of both the college and The All-in-One Company during a House of Commons debate on the health of the North East’s economy.
He revisited the company to meet its apprentices and discover more about the partnership with Northumberland College. “It’s giving young people opportunities they might not have had,” he said.
Mr Lavery said the void created by the decline of heavy industry in his constituency had taken a while to fill but there was a growing momentum.
“For the first time in many years people are getting together and realising what the problems are,” he said. “Skills gaps are being identified and tackled.
“The duty of the college is to get together with employers, decide which skills are needed and provide apprentices with the skills they need to become a successful area again.”