Expert Tooling and Automation’s Sunderland site began with two employees six years ago and is now a multi million pound turnover business at Washington with more than 40 full time employees, designing and building machines which make everything from car parts to inspection media.
The new plant at Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate will allow the company to continue to expand. It will house all project management, design and development staff in light, spacious offices, and will have a huge assembly area to enable large, complex machines to be designed, built and tested at Expert Tooling for its growing list of global customers.
Expert Tooling’s Operations Director, Dave Bartell, said:
“This is a major move for the company and we’re looking forward to seeing the building works get underway. Rainton Bridge is a great location for us, close to a number of automotive companies. We’ve been involved in all stages of the design of the new premises, which will provide all the staff with a great, purpose-built place to work.
It’s been a very busy year, and we have a healthy order book and are looking to recruit staff.
We had 26 full time staff in 2012 but have upwards of 40 at the moment and we are still looking for people. We are planning to create 25 full time jobs in the next 12 months.”
The figure doesn’t include placements, which Expert Tooling is developing in partnership with the University of Sunderland. The company gives guest lectures at the university and has two students on paid one-year placements, who receive vocational experience of engineering with the view to joining Expert when they have completed their degrees.
Dave Bartell said: “The length of the placement means that the students add real value during their time with us. Their enthusiasm and knowledge is very helpful, and they become really involved with the work here.”
Expert also offers apprenticeships and currently has five apprentices following an eight year development plan, with four years craft and four years in technical design training.
Expert Tooling worked closely with Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment Team when it originally opened its Washington office and the relationship has continued as the company has grown.
Dave Bartell said:
“Sunderland City Council is helping us going forward with advice and support about equipment that makes the machines we sell. They have been fantastic; they are very helpful – you couldn’t ask for any more from them. It’s been a rewarding process. They are keen to take on board our ideas and support our plans for growth. The land we’ve bought belonged to the City Council, and the process to buy it has gone well.”
Councillor Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said:
“We are proud to have helped support Expert Tooling’s growth, and provide the land on which it can build its new custom built plant at Rainton Bridge. It’s great news that it is now set to create more jobs and contribute further to the region’s economy. Expert is a prime example of the type of company that the City Council is able to assist. We are keen to support both new and existing firms in the North East -and those from outside the region – which recognise that Sunderland is a great place to do business.”
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