Firm triples its workforce

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An engineering company is to nearly triple its workforce and move into new headquarters, after landing a £175,000 grant.

Bowler Motorsport, which currently oerates in Hazelwood, will re-locate to new 18,000 sq ft premises in Belper town centre this spring.

The move to the new base, a former printworks, will prompt the start of an extensive recruitment programme which will see the company grow from its current 15-strong workforce to more than 40 by the middle of next year.

Increased production capacity will also allow the company to expand its export markets. The firm specialises in the design and manufacture of racing and high performance all-terrain vehicles.

New jobs will include engineering, design, fabrication and welding, vehicle assembly and race preparation. It will also expand the team working on the company’s latest venture – to run a seven-race, one-make series for drivers of off-road Land Rover Defender vehicles to prepare them for major global competitions such as the famous Dakar rally.

Bowler brand director Jon Chester said: “These are exciting times for the company whose roots are firmly in Derbyshire and we look forward to growing further and tapping into the local skills base to bring new, fresh talent into the business.”

The expansion was made possible following an award from the £20 million Derby Enterprise Growth Fund (DEGF) run by Derby City Council. The scheme aims to support growth and job creation in businesses in the city and surrounding area through a mix of loans and grants and is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Many of the jobs will be offered to young people and Bowler Brands is working closely with the University of Derby and with Land Rover to be part of their apprenticeship programme.

Bowler managing director Drew Bowler said: “This investment from DEGF not only supports our growth and job creation but also safeguards around 120 jobs with Derbyshire businesses and gives them opportunities for expansion with our increased orders.”

Derby City Council Leader Cllr Paul Bayliss, who chairs the DEGF panel said: “We particularly wanted to be the catalyst for growth in the engineering sector to support and develop the high tech credentials of the city and surrounding area. Bowler are a local success story and their expansion is exciting news for graduates and young apprentices as well as for skilled people.” already in the jobs markets.”