Remploy factory reborn thanks to entrepreneur

First published in News

THE former Remploy factory will be industrious once again and provide jobs for at least 30 disabled people in Bolton.

It shut in August as part of a government closure plans — leaving its 48 staff out of work.

But thanks to Manchesterbased entrepreneur Oli Randell the premises will come back to life next week as a new company called Ability Tec.

The Manchester Road site is thought to be the only Remploy factory out of the 27 in the UK to have been saved since the closures.

Carl Lawton, who was factory manager at Remploy for six years, said: “This is very exciting and a really good opportunity for the former employees as well as a good opportunity to build a business.

“I had worked at Remploy for 18 years and the worst day was when we shut the factory in August and everyone was made redundant.

“But it’s because of the support we have had from Oli and Dr Brian Sloan, from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, that we’re able to reopen the factory.”

Mr Randell, aged 35, created Ability Tec by acquiring the assets of Remploy Bolton, which had provided training and employment for the disabled for more than 60 years.

He said: “When I came to view the factory when it was up and running a while ago, I saw the noticeboards with the stories about all the individuals who had worked in the factory and letters from children who had been in on work experience.

“I couldn’t see how anyone could not be moved by their stories. And looking at the business, we realised something new was viable with the right structure and the right skills.”

Using a similar model to that of retailer John Lewis, Ability Tec will run as a social enterprise and manufacture printed circuit boards using a workforce 75 per cent of whom are disabled.

The factory will recruit some of the former Remploy staff this week and is set to open for business next week.

Comments (3)

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10:01am Tue 23 Oct 12

magic dragon says...

At last some good news for the disabled of this town. Good luck in your venture.
At last some good news for the disabled of this town. Good luck in your venture. magic dragon
  • Score: 3

10:15am Tue 23 Oct 12

oftbewildered2 says...

well this is a turn up for the books - someone with vision and drive. Good luck to the venture.
well this is a turn up for the books - someone with vision and drive. Good luck to the venture. oftbewildered2
  • Score: 3

9:04pm Tue 23 Oct 12

lindlandl says...

Good luck to everyone concerned, hope it is a massive success!
Good luck to everyone concerned, hope it is a massive success! lindlandl
  • Score: 0

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