Historic firm plans to train up new blood

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A world–renowned family firm, based in the Dales for more than two centuries, has launched a new apprenticeship scheme.

John Smedley Ltd, based at Lea Mills, plans to extend its product range and establish an apprenticeship scheme following £500,000 in funding from Santander Corporate and Commercial.

Established in 1784, the business today operates one of the oldest manufacturing factories in the world.

Both the current managing director and chairman are descendants from founder, John Smedley.

The company holds a Royal Warrant and in November last year was awarded the Premium Brand of the Year title by Drapers.

The business currently has around 400 employees and the apprenticeship scheme will ensure the necessary skills remain available within its workforce.

Ian Maclean, managing director at John Smedley Ltd, said: “John Smedley is one of the UK’s great ‘Made in Britain’ clothing brands and we are benefitting from increased international and online sales resulting from our firm commitment to quality, innovation and design.

“We are gaining in confidence as global economic conditions improve and are looking to invest further, with the help of Santander, in growing our business and brand in the future.”

Jon Bennett, relationship director for Santander Corporate and Commercial, said: “We are delighted to be working with such an historic UK brand, a business rooted in the heart of Derbyshire, one that is investing for growth and with such a strong identity.

“We have a real keenness to help John Smedley achieve its growth objectives and I’m sure the business will continue to grow both in the UK and on a global basis.”