North East Connected

Mayor happy to be roped in to launch high-flying business

A BUSINESS specialising in providing rope access solutions to industrial clients has been officially opened in a civic ceremony.

Hightech Industrial Access, launched by childhood friends James Somers and Lance MacMaster, was officially launched by the Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Cyndi Hughes.

The business, based in a newly built training centre, in Darlington, is aiming high by training tradespeople to work in the rope access sector.

The company has already compiled a large database of hundreds of skilled rope access professionals, including riggers, electricians, mechanics, pipefitters, welders and painters.

Blade maintenance on wind turbines, building maintenance, industrial window cleaning, and welding inspections are all disciplines catered for by the business, and a major contract was recently secured to supply a range of tradespeople to petrochemical sites across Teesside.

Councillor Hughes appropriately cut a rope, rather than a ribbon, to formally open the training centre, created in a 10-metre high unit in Henson Road.

“It’s incredible to see how James and Lance have seized an opportunity to bring jobs to the town, and train others in skills that will open up a range of careers,” said the Mayor.

“Their passion for what they do shines through, and I’m thrilled they have chosen to launch their business in Darlington.”

James paid tribute to his late father Dave, who was an expert in rope access, as being the inspiration behind the business. Dave literally showed James and Lance the ropes when he took them to work with him as soon as they were old enough.

“We weren’t really doing anything with our lives as young lads, and he took us under his wing and taught us all we needed to know. I think he’d be really proud of what we’ve achieved,” said James.

“We want to bring jobs to the area by training people who might not know about rope access as a line of work, or who don’t know how to get involved. We want to raise standards and be the “go to” company for these skills and techniques.”

The company is in talks with Redcar and Cleveland College about running rope access academies for the unemployed.

Laura Owens, Commercial and Training Manager for the college, said: “With all that’s happening on Teesside, especially with the Teesworks development, there is going to be so much demand for this type of work, so it’s great to see what James and Lance are providing at Hightech Industrial Access.”

The business is formally registered with the Jobcentre, and Tegan Chapman, Youth Hub Work Coach for the Department for Work and Pensions, was another guest at the opening.

“We had a young person during lockdown who did the training and got a job as a result. There are great opportunities in this type of work and it’s great to see a training gap being filled like this, so we are looking forward to an ongoing partnership.”

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