A time-honoured local supplier of fabrication and engineering services – Francis Brown Limited – has shown its continued commitment to investing in local talent through the appointment of new apprentices including an award-winning student from the region.

The Stockton based business holds a reputation in recruiting the highest calibre of fabrication and welding staff and this has recently seen the business invest in the future of young welder Sam Shea who was recently hailed as The Best City & Guilds Welding Student of 2018 in the Teesside Area from the Welding Institute Teesside Branch after being nominated by Middlesbrough College.

Whilst studying a welding and fabrication course to level 2, Sam shone amongst 50 students – having demonstrated exceptional welding capabilities and achieving distinctions in the majority of exams – to win the award and has since gone on to impress at Francis Brown under the mentorship of the company’s Operations Manager, Mark D’Cunha.

Speaking about the appointment, Mark Roddy, Managing Director at Francis Brown said: “We are firmly committed to investing in local people, upskilling young apprentices and providing long-term employment opportunities. We have been very impressed to date by all of our apprentices’ achievements and will continue to nurture their development within the company.

“It is very important that Francis Brown has the best people in the business with the right skillset as we look to fulfil our ambitious projected pipeline of work.

“With impending projects in offshore wind, continued investment in the local chemical sector and the inevitable return of project work in the oil and gas sector, it is crucial that our workforce is the very best it can be to continue to deliver our high-quality fabrication and engineering services that we have built a very strong reputation in.”

With excellent relationships with Stockton offshore engineering firm, Heerema, apprentices at Francis Brown have been receiving training at the company’s state of the art training school. Most recently this has seen Sam, along with the other apprentices, working towards achieving 6GR Coding – the highest welding qualification – which will allow the staff to participate in all welding work  on the shop floor. 

Sam has also recently been heavily involved in the fabrication of ladders and a platform – alongside Kieron Hutchinson who has recently completed his four-year apprenticeship with Francis Brown – which will be used at Cleveland potash.

Speaking about providing apprenticeship opportunities in businesses, Stephanie Coleman, Head of Business Development at Northern Skills Group said: “Apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity for young people to gain practical experience whilst earning a wage and it is great to see well established businesses in the region that have carved a solid reputation across the globe recognise the true value in investing in opportunities such as this.

“We have a fantastic pool of talent studying at Middlesbrough College and we show recognition to students excelling with such award schemes that have proven to be pivotal in helping young people obtain apprenticeships with top class organisations such as Francis Brown.”

The company – now in its fourth generation of family leadership – currently employs approaching 100 staff, 10 of which have over 25 years’ service.

Sam said: “I am delighted to have been given this opportunity and I have already gained lots of new skills in my short time with the company. I look forward to starting more complex projects once I am fully trained with the support of the team at Francis Brown and honing my skills even further.”

Established in 1903 Francis Brown Limited provides a complete turnkey service to its clients from design engineering through to full inspection and certification and has carved an impressive reputation in the global offshore and onshore oil and gas, renewables, chemical, nuclear, and rail sectors. The company operates from its head office in Stockton and has specialist manufacturing facilities located across two Teesside sites.