Antique specialists win top apprentice award

Apprentice Dan Gower with his employers Rebecca and James Driscoll
Apprentice Dan Gower with his employers Rebecca and James Driscoll
Share this article

Antiques specialists James and Rebecca Driscoll have become the proud holders of a top award for apprentice employers.

Their business, Driscolls Antiques Ltd, on the Link 59 Business Park at Clitheroe, won the EDF Energy Award for Newcomer SME (Small/Medium Enterprise) of the Year in the north-west regional final of the Skills Funding Agency’s national apprenticeship awards.

Their company specialises in quality British antique furniture and unique collectables.

James and Rebecca, who live at Tosside, received their award in a ceremony at Blackpool Tower.

“We were really shocked to win the award, because we’re only a small company,” said James.

The Driscolls employ two apprentices; brothers Dan and James Gower, both former pupils of Ribblesdale High School. Dan has been with the company for three years and has attained his Level Three qualification, and James has just joined the company after leaving school. The Driscolls also employ two other staff.

“Antique restoration is something of a dying art,” said James.

“We have been established for over 30 years and during this time have developed the best restoration techniques to clean and restore using traditional methods, bringing the original finish back to its former glory.”

James (34) was a mere youngster himself when he took over the family antique shop and house clearance business at Todmorden aged 17 after his father Keith Driscoll became ill.

He started trading online and the business expanded into a small warehouse in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire, with the help of his mother-in-law Barbara Heywood.

Due to the success of the company’s Antiques World website, the business moved nine years ago into the new 6,500 sq foot warehouse at Clitheroe.

“Ninety-five per cent of our business is now online,” he said. “We export antiques, but much of our business is with London.”

The Clitheroe warehouse is also open to dealers, collectors and browsers.

Speaking about the apprenticeship scheme, government Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “The success of each winner reminds us of how crucial apprenticeships are in supporting our workforce, our businesses and our economy.”