Ministry of Furniture, the company which emerged from Remploy Furniture, has returned to its roots, in part, by making a significant investment in skills and technology that will allow it to again produce and install fitted furniture for clients in the education sector.
Fitted furniture was a specialty of the old Remploy Furniture, formed by the UK Government in 1944 to employ disabled workers. Its UK-wide network of factories started to close in 2007 but some facilities lasted much longer. Ministry of Furniture acquired the Port Talbot-based unit in 2014.
Ministry of Furniture remains an inclusive employer with social aims and continues to support disabled and disadvantaged individuals into the workplace. Furniture wise, its focus has been more on loose furniture and associated graphics, wall art and signage – until now.
The business has invested in new software, technology and a training programme for staff to ensure it can seamlessly move back to manufacturing and installing fitted furniture in addition to graphics, signage and contract furniture. To achieve this, it has strengthened its Revit software capabilities and rolled out a comprehensive training plan for employees to further enhance its BIM Level 2 capabilities.
The strategy fits well with its growing portfolio of work in education, itself partly driven by the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme – a multi-billion investment. The firm is already working with a number of schools in the region including Cefn Saeson School in Neath, Ysgol Y Graig in Merthyr Tydfil and Whitmore High School in Barry.
Its new range of fitted future will predominately be for schools’ science and technology labs. All the furniture will be made using CNC machinery in its factory in the Swansea Valley and fitted by its highly skilled team, keeping skills and investment in the Welsh economy in the process.
The extension of its offering into fitted furniture will complement its existing offering, designed to support the construction industry from concept to completion. Its offering now includes recruitment, external signage, site hoardings, vehicle wraps, fitted furniture, loose furniture, wall art and signage. As a framework supplier for The National Procurement Service (NPS) for Wales, Ministry can offer its suite of services to all public sector bodies.
Graham Hirst, Group CEO Ministry Group, said: “We are delighted in the way the business has successfully made this important addition to its offering with confidence given that this was something our legacy business, Remploy, was renowned for.
“Especially in the context of the large and important investment the Welsh Government is making in education, adding fitted furniture to our offering means we can now truly work alongside construction companies – literally from concept to completion. We also look forward to being able to showcase our work in a new showroom we hope to open in March.”
Lead image: New members of staff at the Ministry Group factory in Ystalyfera with Graham Hirst, Group CEO, and Beverly Parker, Operations Director.