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STS saves skills with apprentice recruitment - January 2017

Sam Turner working on Corporation Road School’s bell

Darlington-based Stone Technical Services (STS) has provided a young engineer with an important apprenticeship opportunity after the firm he was working for was unable to retain him due to pressures in the restoration sector.

STS has recruited Sam Turner, from Middlesbrough, as an apprentice working across its lightning protection and restoration divisions.

The 21-year old had previously been working at a Teesside foundry training as a casting and forge specialist but the company wasn’t able to extend his contract due to economic pressures in the industry.

Managing director of STS, Dave Stone, realised Sam’s potential and offered him the opportunity to join his team.

Sam has already worked on some important projects at STS including the re-make of Darlington’s Corporate Road School’s ancient bell, which was installed at the end of 2016 and re-moulded using the original Transporter Bridge bell, and casting iron louvers for the Serpentine Bridge project for the Royal Parks in London.

STS works with a number of organisations, including Gateshead College, Historic England and the Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, to provide opportunities for young people to enter the restoration and conservation sectors.

Dave Stone said:

"We've long been aware of a skillsgap in the North East amongst young people after struggling to recruit skilled workers in the heritage, lightning protection and high level maintenance sectors. Sam showed so much talent that we wanted him as part of our team and we certainly didn’t want his talent to go to waste."

Sam said:

"I find the heritage sector fascinating as it combines the old and new. I’m sure lots of people my age aren’t aware of the variety of opportunities that are available in the sector but I am finding all sort of different jobs that are now open to me. I’ve already worked on some brilliant projects at STS and I am excited about what my future holds."

STS recently announced its most successful year to date by revealing a 20% year-on-year growth. The company, which is made up of five divisions – STS RopeSpec, STS Lightning Protection, STS Restoration, STS Maintenance and Facilities Management and STS Conservation- has seen its turnover increase from around £2 million to over £3 million in the last 12 months and staff numbers are now approaching 50.

Recently, STS has secured new projects with the likes of the Highland Council in Scotland, Newcastle City Council, York Museums Trust, MITIE, the Forth Road Bridge, Texaco, Mitchells and Butlers, Yorkshire Water and Westminster Central Hall.

Darlington brothers, Dave and Grahame Stone, established Stone Technical Services in 1998 and now have offices in Edinburgh city centre, near Stockport in Cheshire and in central London as well as their HQ on Kellaw Road in Darlington.