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Mulberry boost for Somerset jobs market

8:15am Monday 8th October 2012

Mid Devon Star: Mulberry publicity shot

Mid Devon Star: Mulberry publicity shot

Mid Devon Star: The factory site near Bridgwater

JOB hunters have a chance next month to apply for any of the 300 positions being created at a factory making luxury bags.

Work on the Mulberry factory off Bristol Road, Bridgwater, near the Morrisons distribution centre, will begin in November, when there will be a recruitment drive to find the 300 staff needed.

Mulberry says “factory staff will be recruited from surrounding areas wherever possible, to support and develop the local economy”.

The firm, which has been making leather bags since 1971, already has a successful apprenticeship scheme with Bridgwater College.

Mulberry has one other factory, in Chilcompton, near Shepton Mallet, and it says the Bridgwater factory, which will open next summer and be called The Willows – as it is near the landmark Willow Man sculpture – will double its production.

Mulberry chairman Godfrey Davis said the opening of The Willows would “reinforce the group’s position as the largest UK manufacturer of luxury leather goods”.

When news broke last year of Mulberry moving to Bridgwater, politicians said it would provide a massive economic boost, with MP Ian Liddell-Grainger hailing “a great day for Bridgwater.”

A Mulberry spokesman added: “Our history is steeped in craftsmanship and the creation of luxurious bags from the most beautiful leather and since 1971 it has built a reputation for balancing creativity and modernity with the traditions of leather craft and manufacture. “The factory in Somerset is at the very heart of this – Mulberry is dedicated to maintaining and nurturing its British production and is one of the last remaining luxury brands to continually invest in sites in the UK.”

The new factory build adheres to high environmental standards and focuses on sustainability. Solar roof panels should generate about 8% of the factory’s energy usage and reduce its carbon footprint by around 17 tonnes a year and the factory should meet the BREEAM environmental standard rating of ‘very good’.

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