Safety firm plans to double in size

Richard Jones, operations and marketing director of Portwest Clothing, which is based at  Fields End Business Park in Thurnscoe
Richard Jones, operations and marketing director of Portwest Clothing, which is based at Fields End Business Park in Thurnscoe
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Workwear company Portwest is aiming to double in size over the next three years after boosting turnover by almost a third, recruiting new staff and starting to work around the clock.

The family-owned company employs 76 people at its UK headquarters in Thurnscoe, near Barnsley, where staff process orders from around the world.

“We have already gone through a massive expansion in a short space of time and with the lessons we have learned from that further expansion should be easier,” says operations and marketing manager Richard Jones.

Mr Jones was full of praise for Enterprising Barnsley, the European Union-funded agency that assists fast-growing businesses in the town.

“Enterprising Barnsley has helped us considerably so far. The company is growing fast, but we need the infrastructure and the people to grow too. The Enterprising Barnsley coaches have helped us focus, and supported us with management training and improving procedures,” Mr Jones added.

Adrian Waite, from Enterprising Barnsley, said: “Portwest’s expansion so far has been very impressive and the future growth plans are built on a very solid base. When you grow a company rapidly you need the right foundations and that’s where expert advice really helps.”

Portwest supplies workwear ranging from chefs’ aprons and welders’ gloves to high-visibility jackets and over-trousers. The firm develops and manufactures its own fabrics, as well as using well-known brands such as Goretex.

Research is carried out in Ireland, where the company was founded almost 110 years ago. Clothing is manufactured in the Far East and finished at Thurnscoe, which is also home to Portwest’s main warehousing and office hub.

Richard Jones says Portwest employs strong ethical policies at all its factories, ensuring strict guidelines are followed covering issues such as working hours, child labour and health and safety.