In the year that Dolly the sheep was cloned, Charles and Diana divorced and Take That split up, a 22-year-old Jonathan Harper set up Premier Placement Services in Stoke.

And unlike Ask Jeeves, the online search engine which also launched in 1996, the recruitment agency continues to thrive and this month celebrates 20 years in business.

This milestone is being marked throughout June starting with a special anniversary lunch on June 9th where guests can win a day at the races, together with a competition on Facebook to win £100 worth of shopping vouchers.

Jonathan said: “This is a really exciting time for us as there’s been lots of investment into the business, from the completion of our dedicated training suite to our new website, new signage and a complete refresh of our brand.

“It’s a great achievement to be in business for 20 years, and I feel we’re in a stronger position now than ever to grow.

“Our anniversary lunch is a great opportunity to say thank you to all of our clients and our staff, to reflect on how far we’ve come and to celebrate!”

Now based in Newcastle with a 10-strong team, the company is a far cry from the business Jonathan began as an industrial and driver recruitment agency. It now provides staffing to a wide range of sectors including office, industrial, driving and skilled and technical.

Premier Placement Services team

Originally based in London Road, Stoke, friend and five times flat-racing champion Willie Carson opened their office/admin division in 2001, before the team made the move to its current bigger purpose built offices in Brunswick Street.

He added: “Our growth has been fairly organic and is based on the great can-do attitude my team has when it comes to looking after our clients, many of whom have been with us since we started.

“That being said you can never be complacent in business, and we know we have to provide quality candidates every time and the result of that is we’ve never lost a client through poor service.”

Any business owners interested in finding out more about working with Premier Placement Services or candidates who want to find out about the current jobs they have on offer can visit or call 01782 717007.

Some more fun facts about 1996:

  • England hosted the UEFA European Football Championship
  • John Major was Prime Minister
  • The Spice Girls release their first single ‘Wannabe’
  • Average house prices were £69,453
  • A litre of petrol cost around 59p
  • DVDs were launched in Japan
  • Online auction site eBay was launched