A FIRM bringing clothes-making back to the North-East has experienced huge demand, with more than three times the number of workers needed enquiring about jobs, The Northern Echo can reveal.

The AMA Group is opening a factory in Peterlee, east Durham, producing clothing for high street retailers, supermarkets and designer brands.

Bosses say workers are desperate to join the venture, with more than 70 people already enquiring about an initial 20 posts.

Loading article content

Production is expected to start this month, with staff making dresses, skirts, swimwear, jumpers and blouses.

The company aims to create more than 100 jobs, taking on staff this year and in 2015, with its factory also housing a design centre to develop garments.

The firm, launched by former Claremont Garments directors Paul Watts, David and Julie Price and two other directors, is holding a recruitment event today (Wednesday, April 2) with Jobcentre Plus to speak to people interested in applying for roles.

Its presence in the region is a major boost to County Durham's employment landscape, which once boasted a plethora of clothing makers, including Astraka, Sara Lee Courtaulds, Dewhirst and Ramar.

Mr Watts, joint managing director, said: “Since we announced we were bringing clothing making back, the level of interest has been fantastic.

“We've had call after call from people who used to work in the industry in days gone by who are just desperate to work with us. “That's a great position for us to be in.

“We have always planned to take on a mix of experienced machinists and young people who will receive industry training, so this recruitment open day is an ideal opportunity for people to find out more about our plans.

“Initially, we're looking to have about 20 production workers starting at the end of the month, with a phased recruitment drive to fill upwards of 100 positions.”

Enid Dalton, from Jobcentre Plus, added: “We've had a phenomenal amount of interest in the jobs and that is reflected in the number of people registering for the open day.”

Based on Peterlee's Whitehouse Business Park, the company is also working with East Durham College to train the next generation of machinists, and will be holding more recruitment days in the summer as it builds up production.

Mr Watts added: “We've worked long and hard to put in place plans, which we believe will lead the revival of the clothing-making industry, not just in east Durham but across the region.

“This recruitment drive is just the first stage of those plans.”