Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 09.35.16North East high rise maintenance experts, Stone Technical Service Group (STS), are bucking the sector’s seasonal downturn by starting a programme of recruitment to cope with an influx of large contracts for 2016.

The restoration, high level repair, lightning protection and general maintenance group is on track for its most successful year to date and is ahead of projected growth plans having recently secured a range of contracts for the start of the new year.

As a result, Darlington-based STS has started a period of recruitment across all of its divisions but has discovered a major skills gap with a lack of experienced workers in the heritage, lightning protection and high level maintenance sectors.

STS has recently secured new contracts with the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Westminster Central Hall, Lumley Castle in County Durham, Barnard Castle Church, Barnard Castle Sixth Form College, Stiller in Aycliffe, Strike’s in Northallerton, various councils around the UK and with English Heritage and the National Trust.

Managing director of STS, Dave Stone, said: “Our company has always been passionate about preserving traditional skills which are often overlooked.  Buildings will always need repairs and we work all over the UK restoring and maintaining everything from huge cathedrals to community churches as well as repairing precious artefacts such as weather vanes, war memorials, chimneys and flashings on roofs.

“All of the divisions in our group have seen a real growth and we’re certainly bucking the seasonal trend by creating in the region of 10 new jobs in the coming months. Many companies do lay staff off over the winter months due to a seasonal downturn but we are actively recruiting. However, there does seem to be a massive skills gap, as many young people don’t consider this sector as a viable profession.

“Having a skilled trade, which is what we offer, can be a huge advantage and there are so many career opportunities as well as ongoing qualifications from prestigious organisations that we work closely with.”

STS is a leader in the field of historic, high level and specialist maintenance as well as lightning protection and industrial steeplejack services and comprises four divisions: – STS Lightning Protection, STS Restoration, STS Maintenance and Facilities Management and STS Conservation.

The growing team of 40 is continually trained to CITB, NVQ and high standards set by heritage organisations.

STS is on course to increase turnover by half a million pounds to £3 million and managers are now projecting growth of over £1 million pounds in 2016 with turnover expected to reach £3.5 million.

In recent months, the company has been working on a number of high profile projects for a range of high profile organisations including the Royal Parks in London carrying out a full bridge restoration at the Serpentine, for the Royal Household at Windsor Castle and at Grainger Market, Newcastle Civic Centre, the Royal Courts of Justice, Westminster Central Hall and with Great Manchester Police as well as a range of local councils.