Senator takes on eight staff through AtoE

Accrington-based office furniture manufacturer The Senator Group has recruited eight new staff with funding from Access to Employment (AtoE).

Senator Group Access to Employment

The firm, which has showrooms in London, Chicago and New York, approached AtoE to help it bridge its skills gap in sewing.

AtoE works with Lancashire businesses to support their objectives and growth plans. It helps companies access potential clients and assists with pre-employment training.

After sourcing the new recruits, they undertook a Preparation for Work course at the Textiles Academy, based at Themis at Burnley College.

The eight-week course equips candidates with the basic skills required to gain employment in the industry including operating machinery, product inspections and repairs, sewing disciplines including overlocking, seaming and twin needle sewing, as well as employability skills such as timekeeping, punctuality and responsibility.

Steven Crook, sewing supervisor at The Senator Group, said: “There is a chronic skills shortage in sewing particularly in our industry, furniture manufacturing, and it can be a barrier to recruiting new staff. As an employer this course has opened up new avenues of employment we would have otherwise not explored.

“The process benefits the learners by preparing them for employment in a realistic way, and the fact we can tailor the course to the needs of our business is hugely beneficial, for example teaching the importance of consistent sewing seams – so that those who go on to gain employment with the company are fully prepared." The Access to Employment programme is delivered through the Lancashire Employment and Skills Executive Partnership’s (LESEP) network of partners located across the county. LESEP secured £6.7m in November 2016 from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and European Social Fund (ESF) to deliver AtoE.