Two new apprentices have joined an Aerospace manufacturing facility in Stokesley which was saved from closure by a takeover little more than a year ago.
Express Engineering Aerospace now operates the former Burdon factory on the Stokesley Industrial Estate and has taken on engineering apprentices Ryan Harris and Callum Russell, who are both 18 years of age. The pair are the first Teesside additions to a long line of apprentices who have served their time with Gateshead based Express Engineering during its 41year history. And with thirteen apprenticeships created by the expanding group in the last two months alone, the Stokesley starters are joining the business at a time of unprecedented growth.
Said Ryan, from Beechwood in Middlesbrough: “I was studying towards my level 3 BTEC in mechanical engineering at Middlesbrough College when the possibility of an apprenticeship was suggested to me as an alternative to going to university.
“It seemed like a fantastic opportunity, offering a structured transition into the work place without the baggage of a huge student loan to worry about! There were other apprenticeships available but I was particularly interested in what Express was offering with regard to working in the Aerospace industry.”
Callum, from Roseworth in Stockton, who was on the same college course as Ryan, added: “When I saw that this apprenticeship was available I knew it was where I wanted to continue my training. We have been given an over view of the different processes at the factory and familiarised ourselves with and learned about some of the parts and machines. Everyone has been really helpful and supportive.
“Express is putting us through our HNC courses next year, in preparation for which we are studying performance engineering operations (PEO) at Darlington College – learning machine work basics. My aim is to secure a job at the end of my apprenticeship and then progress my career within the company.”
Said Iain Oates, Managing Director with Express Engineering Aerospace and Industrial: “We are delighted to welcome the first apprentices to our Aerospace division here in Stokesley. These young people will now have the chance to learn new skills in a growing business which has a bright future.
“Our aim is to grow the work force by adding people who understand the Express ethos, values and approach to quality. By offering training opportunities like this, we hope to nurture and develop the Express Aerospace engineers of the future.
A £7 million investment this year means Express Engineering now employs almost 500 people at its Stokesley Aerospace and Industrial Product divisions in North Yorkshire, the Gateshead based oil and gas business and in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where it owns and operates Petrotec.
The company has already been singled out as ‘one to watch’ in a league table of the country’s fastest growing firms. It is the North East’s only representative on a 10 strong list of operations tipped to break into the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 – the UK’s top 100 private businesses demonstrating the most rapid expansion.
A 58% increase in exports over the past two years saw the business climb to 52nd in the International Track 200 table whilst a 250% growth in turnover over the same period (now at £37 million) and the subsequent increase in profit, saw Express rocket to eighth place in the Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 league table. This puts the company ahead of well-known national brands such as Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian, biscuit manufacturer Tunnocks and Pret A Manger.