The industry-leading flooring company with Derbyshire roots

The UK’s largest flooring contractor has achieved much success in the 30 years since it was founded, but it has not abandoned its connection to North Derbyshire.

Friday, 4th February 2022, 12:39 pm

Designer Contracts was started by managing director Peter Kelsey at his Matlock home in 1992. He went on to buy the business in 2004, and it now employs more than 350 staff nationally, with an annual turnover in excess of £40m.

The company is a supplier to Britain’s major national and regional housing developers, and also works with housing associations, the care home sector, educational establishments and other public sector buildings.

Despite having expanded nationally, the company’s roots remain very much in Derbyshire, where they employ over 60 people.

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Managing director Peter Kelsey was honoured with an ‘outstanding achievement in the flooring industry’ award last year.

The Designer Contracts head office is at the Coney Green Business Park outside of Clay Cross, they have a showhome design team based at the Holmewood Industrial Estate, and an in-house curtain and blind making facility located in Chesterfield.

The company places great importance on giving back to the local community. As well as sponsoring youth sports teams, Designer Contracts has a long-standing relationship with Ashgate Hospice.

Louise Walters, commercial director at Designer Contracts, said: “We have always valued the community in which we are based and have a long history of supporting Ashgate Hospice. In 2020, the company stepped in with a donation of £10,000 to the charity’s emergency appeal, helping the hospice continue providing end of life care while responding to the challenges of coronavirus in the community.

“The previous year we contributed to the charity’s bedroom appeal by helping to turn outdated three-bedroom bays into nine individual bedrooms. In 2018 the company also redesigned the hospice’s family room, making it more comfortable for patient’s families.”

Designer Contracts also has one eye on the future. The company has helped launch a new training scheme, giving young people a chance to take on skilled roles that would otherwise be filled temporarily by contractors.

Last month, Designer Contracts took on its first cohort of ten teenage apprentices under the scheme, a joint venture with the Flooring Industry Training Association and Webs Training Ltd.

Louise said: “The decision to take on ten apprentices, with plans for a further ten in 2023, represents a significant moment for us as a company as well as the new industry training initiative.

“Apprenticeships and further training are one way in which we can tackle the chronic skills shortage. As a company we have also been recruiting and directly employing more fitters rather than relying solely on contractors. Over the past two years we have taken on more than 25 fitters, many of them in the past 12 months, and going forward our plan is to directly employ even more.

“We are delighted to be supporting this industry initiative with the largest single intake of apprentices by any one company in the country. It represents a real investment in, and commitment to, the future of the industry.”

The apprentices, based around the UK, will attend the FITA training centre in Loughborough for practical training for one week in every eight. In between, over the course of the three-year apprenticeship scheme, they will train with one of Designer Contracts’ employed or sub-contract fitters.