A MANUFACTURING company which brought clothing production back to East Durham is continuing with a recruitment drive that will see it employ 150 people by the end of the year.

The AMA Group in Peterlee now has 55 staff working on contracts for Tesco, Fred Perry and many more national and independent brands.

The company celebrates its first birthday at the end of the month and Joint Managing Directors Paul Watts and Julie Price say that expansion will continue over the coming months.

Paul said¬†“We will continue to increase the number of machinists we employ to meet the demand from our growing list of clients.

“The workforce does a tremendous job but we need to increase production levels by bringing in extra people meet the high levels of demand.

“We are planning to recruit between 8 and 12 people every month on permanent full-time contracts, to take our staff numbers to around 150.”

Julie said: “The revival of clothing manufacturing in East Durham is firmly established and over the last eleven months our growth has been rapid. The response has been fantastic and we continue to receive requests from companies who want to work with us.

“Our plans, for 2015 and beyond, are ambitious and we do believe the 150 people we will employ by the end of the year will rise significantly as we progress into 2016. And our plans aren’t just focused on Peterlee. We believe this model could be recreated elsewhere in the region, once again establishing the North East as the bedrock of the clothing manufacturing industry.”

Peter Dawson, 55 from Peterlee worked in the industry and AMA director David Price was his first boss. He said: “I feel like I’ve come full circle as I worked in the industry, then in a call centre, and now I’m back working in the industry but in a building that was intended to be a call centre.

“It’s just like the good old days and it’s so nice to be doing a job I genuinely love.”

Sharon Ayre, 47, from Shotton Colliery was unemployed until she was offered a job with The AMA Group.

She said: “I worked for Dewhirst when the industry was at its peak and I loved it so when I heard about the plans to bring clothing manufacturing back to the area, I really wanted to be part of it.

“The first year has been brilliant. It is such a nice working environment, much more relaxed than it used to be but we work hard and everyone enjoys it.

“Working here really has changed my life.”

The AMA Group is based at a state of the art facility at Whitehouse Business Park in Peterlee which was specifically chosen to reflect the modern, hi-tech approach to clothing manufacturing.

To find out more about the recruitment drive email paulwatts@ama.clothing.