May 30, 2019 @ 10:03 by Steven Hugill
A steel fabricator has vowed to continue investing in its people to secure further success as it marks the anniversary of a landmark project.
Aycliffe Fabrications says its workforce will remain crucial to its future as it seeks to build on recent expansion and record sales.
The pledge comes as the company celebrates the anniversary of the manufacture and installation of its ‘In Our Image’ head structure, which is based at the A1 entrance to Aycliffe Business Park, in County Durham.
The artwork will be ten-years-old in June, and Christine Bewley, owner and managing director of the business, which makes bespoke metal products in mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium and Cor-ten steel, said its presence will forever be felt as the business goes on building its market presence.
She added the landmark will soon be joined in Aycliffe Fabrications’ order book by a commission to make a Cor-ten seat to commemorate decorated World War One heroes The Bradford Brothers, four County Durham siblings who were awarded major honours for their service in the conflict.
“I have been with the business for over 30 years and was a key member of the team involved in the manufacture and installation of ‘In Our Image’,” said Christine.
“It was an exciting and stressful time ensuring the structure was manufactured to specification and the artist’s requirements, then transported to site and erected.
“The satisfaction we experienced was overwhelming and still is every day I drive past.
“Shortly after the installation of ‘In Our Image’, recession gripped the economy, and we experienced a difficult few years.
“It was due to our established customer relationships, dedicated workforce and reputation for quality, service and reliability that we were able to fight through the recession and flourish again.
“It’s great to be able to say that we are still working with our very first customer,” Christine said of the firm, which is known for platforms, barriers, guards and maintenance for industrial work within factories.
Integral to Aycliffe Fabrications’ success, said Christine, will be its people, revealing the business’ workforce has been a significant factor in turning the company into a strong, profitable business.
She added experienced members of its team, such as senior tradesman John Flanagan, who is celebrating 25 years with the company, and technical and estimating manager Colin Henderson, who will mark 40 years’ service in 2020, have complemented more recent arrivals, such as apprentice Matthew Brown and Katie Flanagan, the latter joining in 2016 as business manager.
“Our success is a testament to our staff commitment, skills and experience,” said Christine.
“My main objective has always been to invest in the business and our people, which we have done over the past few years, and will continue to do.
“We carry out highly specialist work, therefore, all our employees have served an apprenticeship and are Construction Skills Certification Scheme accredited.”
Christine added the company has also opened up new opportunities for new and existing customers with the investment in an Ermaksan press brake and the delivery of a new Swift-Cut plasma CNC machine, as well as other new equipment.
Additionally, it has invested heavily in health and safety requirements, with production manager Dave Mann NEBOSH-qualified.
Christine also revealed the local community is close to Aycliffe Fabrications’ heart. It has worked closely with the University Technical College (UTC) South Durham, in Newton Aycliffe, offering work placements, apprenticeship experience, student projects and presentations to help the pupils understand and experience workplace life.
The company is also on the UTC Employer Group representing small businesses, helping SMEs and the UTC work better together.