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Formerly unemployed Newquay designer's company in Nike campaign

By CGHollie  |  Posted: December 19, 2013


Joanne Bennett wearing one of her SLYNK WETSUITS designs

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A formerly unemployed Newquay designer is set for a prosperous New Year after her newly-established wetsuit company has been chosen to feature in a major advertising campaign by global label Nike.

Joanne Bennett launched SLYNK WETSUITS in June this year and is already receiving orders from across the world.

The 46-year-old had been unemployed for some time but with help by Skills Support for the Unemployed (SSU) project through Truro and Penwith College she was able to start her own business.

In just a few months, the wetsuit design company has already attracted worldwide attention – after being chosen for Nike’s latest advertising campaign and being worn by BBC Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison.

Joanne said: “In the short few months since starting my company, SLYNK WETSUITS has had notable commercial success. I design, cut, glue, sew and tape bespoke, made to measure wetsuits, all of which are made in Newquay and all of which are my own unique designs.

“The name SLYNK was chosen for my company after I researched the Cornish language and found this word meant slide - slide is a slang word used to describe surfing.

“I had fantastic help, support and encouragement from all organisations and individuals involved in this process, but as far as training and Truro and Penwith College was concerned, this helped boost my self-belief and confidence in starting my own company with nationally recognised qualifications and relevant skills courses under my belt right from the start.”

The SSU project receives ESF convergence investment, co-financed by the Skills Funding Agency and is aimed at people aged 19 and older who are on benefits. Led by The Learning Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Ltd, SSU has a variety of partners delivering the training.

Joanne was introduced to Truro and Penwith College guidance officer and SSU project organiser Madeline Richardson at Newquay Jobcentre Plus in January. Under SSU she was enrolled on SAGE accounting, pattern cutting and dressmaking courses.

Madeline said: “Joanne was enthusiastic and talented, and I was thrilled that, with SSU funding, myself and Truro and Penwith College could help her on her journey to become the successful entrepreneur she was destined to be.”

Mark Yeoman, head of ESF convergence communication, said: “The long term robustness of our economy depends on the ability of businesses to embrace new markets. The ESF Convergence investment through Skills Support for the Unemployed and Truro and Penwith College has meant that a talented Cornwall-based designer has rapidly been able to carve a niche and name for her products in the global marketplace.”

SLYNK WETSUITS is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and can be contacted by emailing hello@slynkwetsuits.com

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