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Jul 11 2014

Sign Firm Launches Training and Apprenticeship Programme

ONE of the country’s leading sign manufacturing companies has announced it is launching a training and development programme – as it prepares to install the Great North Run sign on the Tyne Bridge.

Astley, which is headquartered at Team Valley in Gateshead and also has facilities in Leeds, Milton Keynes and Glasgow, has been established for over 90 years and underwent a management buyout in 1990.

The company, which employs nearly 120 people, is currently undergoing a major review of its succession planning programme and as part of that will invest heavily in attracting young talent who can be trained on the job with a view to securing full-time employment.

The announcement comes just a few weeks before Astley will begin installation of the sign to celebrate the Great North Run, which will adorn the side of the Tyne Bridge for six weeks in the build up to the half marathon, which this year will see the one millionth runner take part.

David Forrester, Sales Director and co-owner of Astley, said: “A big priority for the company is to invest in the younger generation, who can be trained and mentored in-house and will complement our experienced workforce. I see this as key to the continued growth and success of the business.

“We’ve recently begun the search for talented young people who we think have the potential to contribute to our ambitious plans which will be implemented in the coming months and have just taken on four apprentices who will be put through an intensive training and development programme across all areas of the business. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to join a growing and ambitious company.

“That’s very much the start of the process for us and we are already looking for a further four people to offer apprenticeships to in the coming months. It’s a really exciting time for the business as we look to build our portfolio and increase turnover across all of our target markets.”

astley signs training apprenticeship team valley gateshead

Left to right, Astley apprentices James Robinson, Ian Dickson, Tom Milne and Jack Carr

Astley’s portfolio of clients includes many of the UK’s leading blue chip brands, including the Hilton Hotel Group, Frankie and Benny’s, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, the Co-operative Group and Esso, while it has also designed the signs for local lesiure facilities including the Metro Centre and Eldon Square when they became part of the Intu Group; Metro Radio Arena; and Market Cross Jewellers.

The company, which also designs way finding signs for hospitals, schools, universities and public sector organisations, was last year commissioned to manufacture the giant sign which is adorned on the side of the Tyne Bridge to celebrate the annual Great North Run, and is now preparing to install it for the second year running.

David Forrester added: “As a growing national and international company with our roots firmly in the region, it was a huge honour for us to be asked to create and install this unique sign in celebration of the Great North Run, which has without doubt become the region’s biggest and most celebrated sporting event.

“Because of the sheer size and complexity of the task, largely due to the Tyne Bridge’s listed status, it’s a massive job for us and installation will take place over several nights. But the end result is so impressive we’re delighted to be able to say we made it happen.”

Since re-launching in 1990 following the management buyout by David and fellow director David Redhead, the company has seen annual turnover increase year on year and in 2012 underwent a major relaunch, which saw the company re-brand to be known as Astley, which incorporates Astley Signs, Astley Imaging and Astley Maintenance.

Earlier this year it was named Manufacturer of the Year at the Tyneside and Northumberland Business Awards.