Ashington’s All-in-One Company is celebrating a magnificent seven years of making onesies for grown-ups this month, and it reckons it has its apprentices to thank for its success.
The High Market business recruited machinists and cutters made redundant after clothing firms previously based in the north east outsourced their operations abroad, and it has gone on to make a name for itself worldwide.
It has also provided training and employment for the likes of Mandy Evans, 22, and Becky Lynn, 19.
They have just completed three-year apprenticeships in fashion and textiles in partnership with Northumberland College in Ashington.
Their lecturer, Rachel Burns, said: “It’s so important for companies to provide training in partnership with colleges because, although new apprentices do not have the actual workplace experience, they can offer a fresh perspective and new ideas which are just as valuable to a growing business.”
All-in-One Company founder Kate Dawson said: “They’ve been around the business for a long time. They know it inside and out and have both become crucial members of the team. We couldn’t do without them.”
Mandy, of Ashington, now specialises in customer service and administration, although she still helps out with embroidery and product inspection.
Becky, of Ellington, works in marketing, and one of her jobs is to write a blog a day for the company website. She also embroiders onesies.
Mandy said: “Work in factories is often seen as repetitive and dull, but it’s nothing like that here.
“We always have to be on our toes. Each day is different, and each design is different. It all depends on the customer’s imagination.”
Becky said: “I love the creative side of the work. I do start with a blank piece of paper every morning.
“I feel I have developed quicker and further through the apprenticeship.
“I’m sure I’m a lot more confident than if I had stayed at school or gone to university.”
Rachel added: “Young people often have strong technology skills which come from using computers and tools such as social media from an early age, and they can use this knowledge to build competitive advantage for a business.
“Mandy and Becky were able to utilise their technology skills to promote the All-in-One Company in a number of ways – by creating blogs, devising monthly newsletters and website building, as well as Facebook – helping the business to flourish and thrive internationally”.