Category: Press

J&B celebrates double shortlisting for the MRW National Recycling Awards 2018

NORTH East based J&B Recycling is in line for a national award after being recognised for the exceptional work they deliver within the waste management industry.

The well-established recycling company, has been shortlisted for both Independent Operator of the Year and the Efficiency Award at the 2018 National Recycling Awards.

The annual ceremony, which brings together over 650 recycling and waste management professionals at The Hilton on Park Lane in London, is recognised as being the most respected within the industry.

J&B’s Managing Director, Vikki Jackson-Smith, said: “To be shortlisted amongst some of the biggest names in the UK’s waste management sector is an amazing achievement for the business. The past financial year has been an exceptional year for J&B Recycling. With an abundance of major investments and record financial growth, coupled with efficiency processes that have been of massive benefit to the business.’’

The shortlisting has come just weeks after the company celebrated its 20th anniversary with a series of investments made to its plant, machinery and vehicle fleet, totalling £1.3m.

“Myself and the team at J&B are incredibly proud of our existing position as the largest independent waste management firm in the North East of England. And national recognition, as J&B Recycling celebrates its 20th year of trading, would be a real honour and privilege,’’ Vikki added.

Over the past 12 months, J&B has won other prestigious awards in recognition of its hard work within the trade. Late last year the company was crowned ‘Recycling Firm of the Year’ by the International Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards 2018.

With the capacity for the handling and sorting of up to 75,000 tonnes of recyclable materials per annum, the company achieved record growth for the financial year ending 2017, reporting a turnover of £15.7m.

Total Recycling Services is a North East Business Award winner

Darlington-based waste management company, Total Recycling Services has beat off stiff competition to claim the title of Best Services Provider in the Teesside Heat of the North East Business Awards, held at Teesside University’s Olympia Building.

Total Recycling Services, which operates from two sites in Darlington’s Yarm Road Business Park, will now go on to compete with winners from the Northumberland & Tyneside and Durham, Sunderland & South Tyneside heats at the Grand Final on 26 April at Hardwick Hall.

Alex Foreman, Managing Director of Total Recycling Services, said about his company’s win: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked. To go up against some of the best service providers in the region is an honour in of itself, but to bring home the win is unbelievable.

“Every single company at the awards is proof that the Tees Valley is a fantastic and prosperous place for businesses and I’m happy to be in the position to celebrate the successes we’ve had over the last ten years.

“We’ve constantly tried to do things differently at Total and to win such an award is fantastic recognition for the hard work our staff put in and the excellent work we provide for our customers every single day.”

The awards are held to celebrate not just the biggest but the best businesses in the North East and see over 2,000 people attend every year.

Other winners on the night include Prosafe Engineering as Newcomer of the Year, Cleveland Bridge in Manufacturing, Wynyard Hall in Tourism & Hospitality and Quorn Foods as Company of the Year.

Alex concluded: “We’re now looking forward the Grand Final in April and having the opportunity to represent the Tees Valley and every one of its great businesses on a larger scale.”

Total Recycling Services will now join electrical engineers Houghton International and engineering consultants M5tec Limited in the Services Category at the Grand Finale.


Construction workers makes Egg – ceptional donation to Newcastle food bank

Thanks to the generosity of team members from Seymour Civil Engineering, hundreds of children in Newcastle will have a smile on their faces this Easter.

Employees from the North East-based civil engineering firm teamed up with Beamish Museum staff to collect over 200 chocolate Easter eggs, which have been donated to the Newcastle West End Foodbank, helping parents who can’t afford them this Easter.

Tom Brown, Site Manager at Seymour, received a message from Greg Tennet, who volunteers at the foodbank, asking if he could contribute to the shortage of Easter eggs they have received this year.

Tom said: ‘’As a parent myself, this got me pretty upset knowing that families in the North East struggle to afford a £1 Easter egg for their child. After a chat with all the site staff and site operatives at from Seymour, Beamish Museum and Linear Recruitment, we decided to donate as many Easter eggs as we could.’’

The company, who are working on the £18 million ‘Remaking Beamish’ expansion project at the open air museum in County Durham, came together and managed a total count of 212 eggs with a further £20 in donations.

Tom continued: ‘’It was a great moment turning up to the foodbank with bags and bags of eggs, the staff were smiling from ear to ear. To most people, it’s only a bit of chocolate, it’s pretty meaningless, but to those less fortunate it can potentially brighten their whole day.’’

He continued: “I could not be prouder of my team; they have no idea how happy they will make so many children in the North East this Easter. As a network, we want to see more people helped out of crisis and fewer people needing foodbanks in the future.’’

Newcastle West End Foodbank helps provide for around 40,000 people in Newcastle every year, but this would not be possible without contribution from the public.

Hairdresser Greg, who volunteers regularly at the foodbank said: “Tom and I have been friends since childhood. I reached out to him on the off chance, so when he got back to me to let me know he’d asked everyone at work I was amazed, one little idea can go such a long way. “

He added: “If we live in a city where people are going hungry we aren’t doing enough. Direct action is so important, so many foodbanks need contributions which means we need to do much more to donate and to help each other.’’

Newcastle West End Foodbank, founded in 2004, is part of The Trussell Trust’s network of 428 foodbanks, working to tackle food poverty and hunger in local communities, as well as across the UK.

Greg continued: ‘‘I organised a ‘The Big Family Food shop’ event at Christmas, which managed to raise over £3,000 worth of food which was amazing, but events like that are something that need to be contributed to all year round.’’

“Contributions to the cause don’t need to be expensive, even if it’s just a few tins that are sitting in the back of your cupboard it all helps. Hygiene products are also welcomed, every little thing adds up and it makes such a big difference to the people who need it most.’’ He added.

With one in five of the UK population live below the poverty line, The Trussell Trust’s Foodbank Network provided 1,182,954 three-day emergency food supplies and support to those in crisis. Of these, over 430,000 went to children.

If you want to donate, Newcastle West End Food bank is located in Grainger Market, Newcastle City Centre, alternatively you can visit there site at

£500k Investment for Total Recycling Services

WASTE MANAGEMENT company Total Recycling Services has invested over £500k into bespoke vehicles and equipment to meet the service demand expected throughout 2018.

Since 2009 the company has invested over £5.5m into its site equipment, which services large-scale manufacturers across the UK.

The most recent investment was in response to the rapid growth of the company’s industrial cleaning services division which was introduced in early 2017 and has seen the area of the business grow from three personnel to over 15 staff spread across five teams.

Andy Dobson, Operations Director at Total Recycling Services, said: “We have seen a very prosperous period for Total over the last 12 months and we were looking to invest into our equipment and vehicle fleet in order to continue our growth.

“So far, we have acquired two new 30,000 litre tankers which will go toward supporting our industrial services division, a roll on roll off truck with a further three units and we have also got our hands on what’s known as a glass imploder.

“The glass imploder cost us around £60,000 and will allow us to take waste glass from our clients and turn it into a clean granulated glass which can then be recycled into any number of products. This had been going through a commissioning period in 2017 and is now fully in use.

“We have also bought three new tractor units which can pull either a tanker or articulated trailer. We’ve also bought chemical tankers which will help us to reduce our carbon footprint in transporting waste and allows our customers to save money too.

“It’s been pure demand that has meant we’ve had to invest so heavily into new vehicles and they constantly in use.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Total’s plans for 2018. The organisation is looking to add to their investment into equipment by acquiring more vehicles later in the year and developing a new weighbridge on site as well as continuing to look at a potential acquisition before the end of the year and implement new technology systems.

Andy said: “We’re currently still on the hunt for an acquisition and we would like to do something a little bigger to help us compete at a higher level and to help us with our clients who are further North. Giving us an even bigger footing in the region.

“In 2018, we’re looking to increase our presence in the market and we want attract more big customers. I strongly feel that Total Recycling Services is the best in the market at what we do and will continue to make these investments to ensure we are giving that high level of service consistently. ”

Total Recycling Services works in partnership with a number of large manufacturing companies such as Nissan, Hitachi and AkzoNobel offering bespoke service packages.

The company is planning to reach a turnover of £25m by 2022 and last year reported a turnover of 14.5m.

J&B Recycling celebrates 20th anniversary with £1.3m investment

A North East recycling firm has celebrated the beginning of its 20th anniversary with a series of investments totalling £1.3m.

J&B Recycling, the region’s largest independent recycling firm has rolled out an £800,000 plant upgrade and made further investments into machinery and its vehicle fleet across its three sites totalling a further £500,000.

The two-phase plant upgrade, that was completed in January, not only allows the company to take an additional 11,000 tonnes of waste per year but also allows J&B to continue complying with strict overseas regulations and ensures it is prepared for the future.

Vikki Jackson-Smith, Managing Director at J&B Recycling said: “The significant investments we have made to our Hartlepool MRF have been key drivers in J&B’s strategy for continued growth and sustainability, allowing us not only give comfort to our customers but to also increase our efficiency, flexibility and prepare for any future changes in the market.

“The investment will also massively support our continuing goal of maximum efficiency and high quality levels of service when working with our customers, especially in updates to our new vehicle fleet. Just last year we reported that 98% of our collections were on time when analysed over six months and this year we want to further improve on that already high percentage.”

The new plant includes more advanced automated technology, aimed at achieving the highest quality of materials for the firms end markets.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who visited J&B for a first look at the new plant, was incredibly impressed by the quality and passion of the business.

He said: “Over the past 20 years, J&B Recycling has gone from strength to strength. Their drive for success is shown in their adaptability and willingness to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.

“The new facility was seriously impressive and I was encouraged by J&B’s plans for the future. It’s wonderful to see such business growth and investment into the Tees Valley. Their commitment to the region combined with their expansion is great news for the firm and our area.

“I very much look forward to working with J&B Recycling in the future and eagerly await hearing about their next achievement.”

Vikki added: “It was great for Ben to come and visit and see what a thriving business we are in the region especially when we are just beginning our 20th anniversary celebrations. We have made a number of upgrades to our plants over the last eight years, but this latest set of expansions have been the most prominent. In the waste management industry, upgrades are essential as operations need to reflect the changes in the consumer market.

“Since our last major expansion back in 2009, the make-up of material we receive has changed dramatically and the new plant has been designed to add flexibility to our operations.

“It allows for a variety of process configurations and can handle different input streams with ease, whether it is fully comingled, comingled without glass, triple or dual stream, we can offer maximum recovery of the recyclable content.”

J&B has also purchased three new Liedherr LH22 material handlers worth around £550k, to ensure efficient operations.

Vikki concluded: “We have a strong line of development capital funding from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) that we acquired back in 2014. The fund has a figure of £2.6 billion of development capital, and we are not limited to how much of that we can access.”

The expansion supports J&B Recycling’s vision for future acquisitions and business growth. For the 2016/17 financial year, the company reported a turnover of £15.7m, increased its gross profit by 159% with an EBITDA increase up 87.2% from 2015/16.


Triple success for Hart Biologicals and Hart Innovations

Hartlepool based Haemostasis specialists, Hart Biologicals is celebrating its shortlist in three categories at this year’s North-East Business Awards.

The medical diagnostics company has made it down to the final three contenders in each of the Heart of the Community, Innovation and Export Awards for the 2018 annual ceremony.

Alby Pattison, Managing Director of Hart Biologicals, said: “We’re over the moon to be nominated at this year’s awards. Last time round we won two out of the four categories we were contending in and we couldn’t help but come back to defend our titles and show just how much we have achieved over the last year.

“I’m confident that the outstanding work both the Hart Biologicals and Hart Innovations teams have been undertaking over the past 12 months can ensure we’re real competition.”

At the 2017 event, Hart Biologicals and sister company Hart Innovations won both the Export Award and Innovation Award, before narrowly missing out on Small Business of the Year and Heart of the Community.

Alby concluded: “To be shortlisted again for this year’s awards is an honour in itself.

We’re already looking forward to welcoming the judges of each of the categories and showcasing to them just what makes both companies stand out.”

The awards are held by Trinity Mirror in association with the North-East England Chamber of Commerce and honour the shining lights of the region’s successful and innovative business world.

The Teesside heat of the North-East Business awards will be held at Teesside University’s Olympia Building on 22 March with the winners of all three regional finals going head to head on 26th April in a grand final held at Sedgefield’s Hardwick Hall.

Forrest Digital plans to increase turnover by 30% following acquisition

Tees Valley based online marketing specialist, Forrest Digital, is increasing its turnover by 30% following the acquisition of a neighbouring digital marketing agency.

The company has acquired the digital marketing arm of We Are Myrias Ltd, securing Forrest Digital around 80% of that company’s client base and also bringing with it the expertise of owner Dan Smith who will join Forrest Digital as a Non-Executive Director.

As a result the company plans to recruit an additional member of staff and a University intern within the coming months.

Iain Forrest, Managing Director of Forrest Digital said: “The acquisition was the natural next step for myself and Dan and also our businesses. We have worked well together on different projects for clients over the last few years and as Dan took his career to the next level, it made sense for Forrest Digital to take over the workload and expand its offering.

“Dan’s client base is incredibly specialist which is what we love and are very good at working on. Clients which have now come on board with Forrest are in a variety of sectors including finance, software development and ecommerce.

“Following the increase in work, we will be recruiting both a graduate and hopefully a university intern in the coming months to help us fully develop these opportunities and grow the company further. We are already very busy and really excited that things are going to get even busier.”

New clients have already been introduced to Iain and the team and Dan will be there throughout to inform and guide the company.

Dan, who is now working closely with the team at co-investment company Growth Capital Ventures Ltd, said: “Having worked and collaborated with Iain for a number of years, there are very few people in our industry that I respect to the same degree. Professional, knowledgeable and extremely customer-focused, when the opportunity came to have We Are Myrias and Forrest Digital work closer together, it was obvious that it needed to happen. It was the natural progression for both companies.”

“We Are Myrias has worked on some fantastic projects for multinational clients and I’m confident Forrest Digital will be able to build on this and continue exceeding the expectations of our loyal client base.”

Iain concluded: “Last year was already a year of steady growth for us and it really is true that as we help our clients to grow, we grow too.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2018 holds and just where it will take Forrest Digital.”

Forrest Digital, based at Fusion Hive in Stockton, specialises in digital marketing for growth-focused companies in a number of industries including manufacturing, ecommerce and software development. The company helps clients develop and launch organic and paid campaigns in search and social media as well as creating content and providing in-house training and support.

Most recently the company helped local company Weschenfelder Ltd to increase its online sales by 25%, building a specialist website and marketing campaign to enter the German market, and has helped a 5* star hotel in Mayfair, London to grow website traffic and direct booking revenue by 40% in just 6 months.

From Apprentice to Apprenticeship Boss

Hartlepool College of Further Education has appointed Gary Riches as Head of Apprenticeships, coming full circle after completing his award winning apprenticeship with the organisation over 18 years ago.

The College, which is ranked number one in the North East for apprenticeships, allowed Gary to start his career as an apprentice electrician in the year 2000, when he was employed by Tees Valley firm Gus Robinson Developments. His high performance for the local construction company were recognised with three consecutive apprentice of the year awards.

After four years, Gary progressed to a fully qualified electrical technician and two years later on to a project manager and electrical estimator before going on to manage the entire electrical department in just 10 years.

Gary said: “Around about that time the workload within my role was pretty tough. We’d been through the height of the recession so it wasn’t a great time for the industry. My wife and I were expecting twins so I knew I needed to revaluate and find something which would allow me to look after them and give me enough time to spend with my new family.

“There was an advertisement about an opportunity to be a lecturer of engineering at the College. I got in touch with a few of the people that taught me all those years ago to see if they thought I’d be a good fit for the job. They agreed, so I applied.

“It was a great feeling to come into the role because many of the people who I was working with taught me. I was welcomed straight away and everyone in the school had been supportive of me and got me through the trials of my first few years.”

As Head of Apprenticeships, Gary’s main task is to oversee the transition from apprenticeship frameworks to the new standards brought in with the introduction of the levy. He also manages all of the work based assessors that undertake progress reviews with apprentices in their workplace.

Gary said: “I also want to take the College towards higher education apprenticeships and in particular I will be looking at working alongside some of the brilliant higher education institutions in the region including Teesside University.

“I’m extremely passionate about apprenticeships because I’ve been there myself. Apprenticeships are an incredibly important option for learners. They allow people to get the crucial skills they need to work in a variety of industries and set learners up for the rest of their careers.

“With the new apprenticeship levy, it’s great that employers are able to take more charge of the apprenticeships they offer and hopefully this will see a much-needed influx of apprenticeships and apprentices, not only in our region but nationally.

“I think potential apprentices can see from my story that by taking the same route you’re not limiting yourself to one career path. There are numerous avenues available to them and many options to progress from their initial apprenticeship.”

Recently, Hartlepool College of Further Education has been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED for its apprenticeship provision and has also been shortlisted in the Apprenticeship Programme of the Year category at the Times Education Supplement Further Education awards.


House Builder takes valuable steps towards tackling the accessible housing deficit

WITH just over 7% of UK housing providing the basic accessibility features required for the elderly or people with a disability, the country’s accessible housing deficit is expected to reach a crisis point.

Statistics show that one in five disabled people are living in homes which require adaptation to meet their needs, and research carried out by national charity Aspire, indicates that the number of wheelchair accessible homes being built is on the decline, with over 20,000 wheelchair users still waiting for suitable, affordable housing.

One SME house builder, that has taken valuable steps towards combatting this growing issue is Yorkshire based firm SB Homes.

By partnering with accessibility solutions, CIBES Lift UK, the developer has been able to adapt homes for people of all ages and physical abilities within it’s Empire Works development in Huddersfield.

The latest development is set to include two T-shaped apartment buildings, comprising of 24 two-bedroom properties. Within the two buildings, CIBES Lift UK is installing four A5000 lifts in order to ensure the properties are accessible.

The development will also include a number of three and four bedroom houses. Buyers of these properties are encouraged to have shared input into the design of the property, and as part of this are given the option to have a domestic lift installed in to the property.

Gary Sullivan, marketing and sales director at Cibes, said: “A staggering amount of councils in England don’t have plans to address the lack of accessible housing, so it is becoming more and more important for construction firms to take on this responsibility and prioritise accessibility within new developments.

“When many housing developers think of domestic lifts they tend to picture a bulky, obstructive eye sore that will ruin the aesthetic of the property and put off potential buyers. This is the not the case at all, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Domestic lifts are often considered a selling point by potential buyers as it means the properties can be a ‘forever home’.

“Accessible homes aren’t just beneficial for people with disabilities and mobility issues, they improve independent living for older people, as well as families with young children.

After previously working on a number of developments with the company, CIBES Lift UK was the first port of call for SB Homes, who have a number of developments across West Yorkshire.

Stephen Byram, Managing Director at SB Homes said: “Accessible housing is a huge issue for the industry right now. Many people who have requirements for additional support are struggling to live their day-to-day lives because their own homes are simply not geared to help them and are totally unsuitable for their needs.

“Being an SME house building firm it’s important that we understand the needs of the people in the area and are fine-tuned into what’s required to make the properties as safe and comfortable for potential owners as possible.

“When we looked in to the local demand and our target audience, we knew we needed to make accessibility a priority. It’s helped us market the properties to people who wouldn’t have even considered moving there without them. Often, accessibility is the first thing that potential customers ask us about.

“Offering accessible housing, in an area that is crying out for it, is a great way for us to support local people and is part of us giving back to the areas in which we develop.”

CIBES Lift UK has worked with a number of construction companies, installing step-free access solutions to ensure residential developments are fully accessible.

To learn more about CIBES Lift UK visit or call 0800 085 0269.

Jordan’s a high flyer after his apprenticeship

Hartlepool College of Further Education is celebrating a former apprentice who has taken his career to new heights.

Jordan Garrick, 23, who attended Northfield School in Billingham came to Hartlepool College of Further Education in 2012 to study a Higher National Diploma in Aerospace Engineering through Teesside University.

Since then Jordan has gone on to an apprenticeship with Babcock International Ltd working within its military aviation wing.

Jordan said: “I always knew I wanted to do something within aerospace. Originally, I wanted to be a pilot in the RAF but unfortunately, I’m too tall and I’d have no chance if I had to press the eject button, it would take my knees off!  So, I chose to go into engineering instead and I’ve never looked back since. I’d never done anything like it before so I came with an open mind and signed up at the College.

“When I finished my course in 2014 I had to question whether I wanted the experience of working within the industry or whether I wanted to go to university to continue onto my Bachelor of Engineering or Master of Engineering.

“I finally chose to apply for an apprenticeship position which was available at Babcock International. I’d been on visits to RAF Leeming, where the company is based, whilst I was doing my HND and I was fascinated. The apprenticeship was the foot in the door and I needed to kick-start my career.

“My apprenticeship was a bit different to others, while other apprentices usually have a day release to attend college. My entire apprenticeship was based at up at RAF Leeming and it was all on the job training.

“I started out in my first year on what is known as the ‘First Line’ which includes working on and planning the flying program and making any rectifications to that program. My second year was on the ‘Second Line’ which is scheduled maintenance on the aircraft. A bit like when you take your car in for a service.”

Whilst at Babcock, Jordan has primarily been working on the Hawk T1A, a modified version of a single engine, jet powered training aircraft used by the RAFs 100 Squadron.

“Working on aircraft such as the Hawk was a new experience for me at the time. I’d only worked on the jet in the hanger at the College, which is a dead aircraft purely for training purposes. So, to have the opportunity to be working on live aircraft was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I felt I got a lot of job satisfaction from it, especially seeing the aircraft take off after having worked on it was thrilling.

“The guys up at Leeming have been incredible. The people you work with support you through it all. I was one of the first apprentices taken on by Babcock Aviation along with one other apprentice. We were sort of leading the way for all subsequent apprentices and the team really took us under their wing and taught us a lot.”

Jordan passed his apprenticeship in June 2016 and by August had been promoted to a supervisory role, meaning he now oversees another employee within the company. Jordan said: “It just goes to show how fast things can change if you work hard and apply yourself.

“Babcock is even sponsoring me through my degree at Teesside University. Something I was thinking about years ago when I was at the cross roads of university or an apprenticeship. Only now I have the great experience of working within the industry and the added bonus of them paying all of the fees, which is brilliant.”

Following his degree, Jordan already has a space on Babcock’s graduate programme where he has the chance to work in other countries and sees himself in a management position at the engineering company in the future.

Jordan said: “The opportunities that have been afforded to me because of my apprenticeship have been amazing. I’ve been sent away on detachment to work on aircraft during NATO exercises in countries such as Estonia and Hungary. It not only helps me develop my skills but opens my mind to different cultures.”

Jordan has recently bought his own home and is aiming to finally attain his dream by training for his Private Pilot Licence. Jordan said: “I need about 45 hours of airtime in order to get my licence, which I try to fit in when I’m not doing my university work. I’m almost half way now so I just need to keep on going.

“It’s unbelievable to think how far I’ve come since 2012, when I first started at Hartlepool College of Further Education. My apprenticeship opened the door to possibilities that I never would have accomplished had I went to university. Who knows where I would be now if I hadn’t taken this chance.

“Apprenticeships are an incredible way to learning skills while getting your foot on the career ladder. I love working at Babcock and I love learning there. My advice for anyone who is in a similar position as I was is “Just do it!’.”