Award-winning start for Darlington high-risers

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A Darlington firm has started the year with a boost for two of its team members and with a recruitment drive.

Stone Technical Services (STS) – which specialises in restoration, conservation, lightning protection and general maintenance projects – has seen two of its staff achieve their Steeplejack NVQ Level 2 CITB, one of the sector’s most important qualifications.

In addition, both came in the top three of the National Apprentice Awards. Thomas Dixon and Curtis Mulholland were singled out for their exceptional commitment and success in the sector, while Curtis was also named Steeplejack of the Year.

Thomas and Curtis joined STS in August 2017 and are now a steeplejack site supervisors.

Both have worked on projects including St. Pauls Cathedral where they abseiled the iconic dome and laddered all the way to the top of the golden cross, and also St. James Church in Louth which boasts the tallest spire of any medieval parish church in the country.

The Apprentice of the Year Awards are organised by Steeplejack and Lightning Protection Training Group and recognise the highest standards and professional skills amongst young people across the UK.

Thomas said: “I was a bit surprised to have made this shortlist- I just do a job I love everyday so to be recognised is great. It’s a fascinating sector to be in with lots of opportunities and STS’s team has supported me all the way.”

Curtis added: “It’s a real boost to be shortlisted for this award- we work really hard, outside in all sorts of weather so to get this recognition from both my managers and the sector is fantastic. I can’t believe I won a top award.”

STS invests heavily in staff development focusing on a wide range of accreditations and qualifications including a variety of NVQ Level 2 and 3 in lightning protection, stonemasonry and steeple-jacking.

Bill Butcher, a steeplejack instructor at Bircham Newton Training College in Kings Lynn, said: “It’s been a real pleasure to pass on my knowledge to these two lads. Throughout the whole course they’ve always been keen, listened and understood. Both of them have excelled and I hope that they’ll progress to the foreman status quickly.”

Richard Pavlou, MD of STS, said: “Curtis and Thomas have been assets to the company since the day they started. They always work to an extremely high standard both in terms of safety and the quality of their work- and this qualification is testament to this. It’s vital that we continually progress our teams’ development and this is a brilliant start to the year.”

Last year, STS saw a record year of growth with turnover increasing by 10% to in the region of £3.3m.

Bosses attribute the company’s success to its diverse divisions specialising in lightning protection, facilities management and restoration and conservation.

Darlington brothers, Dave and Grahame Stone, established Stone Technical Services in 1998 which is based on Kellaw Road in Darlington with offices London and Edinburgh.

The company works around the UK on a range of project for organsations such as the National Trust, English Heritage, St Paul’s Cathedral and Lumley Castle, as well as a range of local authorities, schools and churches.


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