Sunderland’s Armah Switchgear Ltd relocate to bigger site

Sunderland’s Armah Switchgear Ltd relocate to bigger site

A Sunderland-based power systems specialist is preparing to move to a new site as it looks to grow and expand its team.

Armah Switchgear Ltd has taken space at the £80m, Legal & General-backed Hillthorn Business Park in Washington, a short distance from its current site on Glover Industrial Estate. It hopes to be operational in the new factory from late Autumn.

Founded in 1991 by Alan Hawkins and Andrew Mayo, the company provides power systems for major construction projects around the UK and currently employs 64 people.

The move will see the firm vastly increase its footprint and provide it with a platform to achieve its aim of increasing its headcount by 50% over the next three years.

Alan said: “We’re desperate for space and the move to Hillthorn will allow us to double the factory floorspace. Things are going well for the business at the moment with a healthy orderbook.

“The company has been consistently growing and we’ve been looking for a premises for about five or six years but there’s such a high demand for factory space in this area.

“I’d been scouring the area looking for land to build one on. Sunderland City Council knew what I was looking for and flagged the Hillthorn Business Park development as a potential option. It’s a really good location for us and is only about 500 yards from the site we’re on now.”

Armah Switchgear Ltd is a key player in the industry, working on major projects around the country such The Shard in London; Goodison Park, home of Everton Football Club; floodlighting on the Tyne Bridge; and the Pilgrim’s Quarter in Newcastle.

A key part of the firm’s success has been built on its apprenticeship programme and providing opportunities to local youngsters, which in turn ensures it has a pipeline of talent coming through for years to come.

“We have a big apprentice school for a small business and we base our future on it,” said Alan. “Andrew and I both started out as apprentices and we put a lot of emphasis on our apprenticeships.

“We’ve got 12 apprentices and two trainees at the moment out of 64 employees. Nearly all our senior people in the business are ex-apprentices. We take on a lot of people from local schools and we give them good training and a good profession.

“From day one we’ve had a focus on training our own people and it’s been really successful. The vast majority of our workforce now are ex-apprentices.”

Armah Switchgear Ltd decided to take space at Hillthorn Business Park following conversations with Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment Team.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Armah Switchgear Ltd is a great example of a Sunderland company having a big impact on national industry.

“A company that has been based in Washington since its inception over 30 years ago, it is a real Sunderland success story. I look forward to watching the company grow from its new site.”

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