Firm takes on staff after new investment and contracts

North East Panels' directors Mike Knapton, Theresa Knapton and Dave Sugden with Coun Harry Trueman
North East Panels' directors Mike Knapton, Theresa Knapton and Dave Sugden with Coun Harry Trueman
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An expanding company is creating jobs after winning two major contracts and investing in new equipment.

North East Panels, which is headquartered on Washington’s Pattinson South Industrial Estate and also has a factory near Nottingham, makes doors for local council social housing and trade customers.

Halfway through last year, we got steadily busier. The industry has become more vibrant after being up and down over the last few years.

Director Dave Sugden

The company employs 75 people and is adding between six to eight new positions, with plans for further recruitment later in the year.

The new jobs are a result of two new contracts with local authority clients in Yorkshire and the addition of a sophisticated CNC beam saw, which was partly funded through a capital expenditure grant from the Regional Growth Fund.

Director Dave Sugden said: “Halfway through last year, we got steadily busier. The industry has become more vibrant after being up and down over the last few years.

“The new equipment has allowed us both to grow and keep up with increased demand. The CNC beam saw is programmed to cut at a much greater speed than the equipment we had and that has increased capacity.

“We’ve taken on people as a direct result, and on top of that, we have acquired two new long-term contracts which will result in a steady flow of doors per week.

“The machine and the new contracts mean we have seen a sharp growth in our orders and while still maintaining our lead times.”

Sunderland City Council’s business investment team worked with North East Panels to source the most appropriate grant.

North East Panels supplies its products virtually nationwide, with its Washington headquarters servicing Northern England and Scotland and Sunderland City Council deputy leader, Councillor Harry Trueman said: “We were pleased to help with North East Panels’ latest expansion. This is a company that has grown from a small start into a key employer in Washington.

“It’s great news that it is creating jobs and has won new contracts to sell Sunderland-manufactured products nationwide.”