Sweet smell of success for Lavender International

Steve Lavender, Co-Managing Director and Jill Thompson, Executive Manager of Lavender International.
Steve Lavender, Co-Managing Director and Jill Thompson, Executive Manager of Lavender International.
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A FAMILY-owned training company has seen its turnover increase by 40 per cent in two years as the third generation gets ready to take over the reins.

Penistone-based Lavender International was founded by Jack Lavender in 1976, undertaking metallurgical testing before moving into training people from all over the world to carry out non-destructive testing themselves.

Jack’s son Steve now wants to hand over the company to the next generation and is determined to ensure it is in the best possible health first.

“We had been putting our head in the sand and not facing the issues,” admits Steve, whose son Paul also works for the firm.

“We had to look at the age of the directors and be realistic.

“Now we are working on the strategies so we can go through that succession and hand over a thriving business to Paul and his peers.”

Lavender has been using the services of business support programme Enterprising Barnsley to help it prepare for the future.

With Enterprising Barnsley’s help, the company has boosted its turnover from £2.5 million two years ago, to £3.5 million.

Enterprising Barnsley coach Martin Potter has been advising the firm, which has also received free marketing and IT support from the organisation.

The firm is backed by Barnsley Development Agency and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre and funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

“The support from Enterprising Barnsley has made an enormous difference and has given us so much confidence,” said Steve Lavender.

“With Martin, for example, the word helpful does not come anywhere near what we have got from his assistance.

“He has been brilliant at identifying what we want and putting in place new strategies for developing the business.”

As part of its development strategy, Lavender International has employed Jill Thompson as executive manager to oversee the business development and mentoring of younger staff.

She said: “The great thing about non-destructive testing is that it is recession-proof. It really does have a future for the next generation.”