Knitwear workers have celebrated putting the polish on their skills as their firm reshapes itself for the future.

Staff at Tanya Knitwear are flying the flag for British manufacturing after achieving NVQ success.

News comes as the Fiskerton employer of 65 people continues its drive to win new business.

Today, managing director Erica Colver – who led a management buyout of the business from the Allied Textiles Group about 18 months ago – said it was geared up to respond to a wider range of discerning clients.

And her fellow directors added that the company, which once employed 110 people, is also poised for further investment.

“Six months before the buyout, our biggest customer was a major high street retailer,” she said.

“We actually lost that business and we have since been restructuring our operations.”

It had been a fairly traumatic time, but Tanya had since been working to win orders in parts of the market which are “capable of paying for a quality, premium product,” she said.

While huge quantities of clothing and knitwear destined for the High Street continues to be made abroad, Tanya has been focusing heavily on designer names and niche clients. “We are continuing to reposition the business. We are attracting a lot of interest from people wanting British-made products,” said Mrs Colver.

Tanya not only offered quick lead times, it could also handle short runs and respond to client’s calls for re-orders, she said.

“Sales of jumpers for the golfing market now represent 40 per cent of our business,” said Mrs Colver.

“Three years ago, we had a very small presence in this market and we were mainly dependent upon the major retail sector.”

Sales director Fiona Berridge said retail sector demand was very seasonal. That had led to low levels of activity at some times of the year.

“We looked for product areas where sales were more evenly spread across the year,” she said.

Production director Mike Allsop added: “In the past, machines making this type of knitwear would have been idle for part of the year. Now we are working around the clock and we will be installing another machine in the New Year to cope with demand.”

Knitting & Lace Industry Training Association chief executive Joan Long visited Tanya to present 12 workers with their NVQ 1 certificates in performing manufacturing operations.

Mrs Colver said it was a proud moment. Some people had even “caught the bug” and were working towards their NVQ level two.