Robbi Dickinson, Stone Technical Services Group
Anna Addison

Member Article

County Durham apprentice strikes gold for lightning work as business booms

A Darlington apprentice technician has been named the best in his field at a national awards ceremony.

Robbi Dickinson is an apprentice lightning conductor engineer at Stone Technical Services Group, in Darlington, and has won the W.J. Furse Award for the best technical application at the Steeplejack and Lightning Protection Training Group Apprentice Awards.

The awards recognise the highest levels of training and skills in the sector and celebrate the successes of apprentices from all over the UK

Robbi has worked at Stone Technical Services Group for almost three years in his role which involves installing lightning protection at sites all over the UK and beat off competition from hundreds of apprentices to clinch the W.J. Furse Award.

The 23 year old was singled out for his award thanks to his commitment and passion for his job and also his outstanding technical skills.

As well as staff success, Stone Technical Services Group’s lightning protection division has recently completed a series of contracts in the North of England.

In Billingham, the company has been working on the regeneration of the exterior fabric of Kennedy Gardens, social housing managed by Tristar Homes. As part of the modernisation programme, Stone installed a new lightning protection system to the development.

In Wallsend, STS Lightning Protection has completed lightning protection work at Hadrian Park Primary and, in York, the business has been working with York Museum’s Trust on various projects installing lightning protection to historic and ancient structures in the city.

Stone Technical Services Group’s lightning protection division is one of the UK leaders in the sector and has been the primary contractor employed to work on St Paul Cathedral’s lightning protection for the last 15 years. The division also works for high profile organisations such as the NHS, Network Rail and English Heritage as well as local authorities, historic buildings and industrial sites.

At the start of 2014, Stone Technical Services Group re-branded to allow its four divisions to grow independently- STS Lightning Protection, STS Restoration, STS Maintenance and Facilities Management and STS Conservation- and to help with expansion plans and the ongoing diversification of the business, making best use of its teams’ areas of expertise.

Managers at Stone reported a successful 2013 with turnover steadily growing to over £2 million. Five new jobs were created, taking staff numbers to 35. The company hopes to create around six new jobs in 2014 and boost turnover by around 30%.

Speaking about his award, Robbi said: “I always work to above any set industry standards because that’s the way we’re trained at Stone. As well as my studies and the industry exams, we also have in-depth in-house training and it is great experience to learn from colleagues who have worked in the industry for many years. I’m really pleased to have won this award and it’s brilliant that my hard work in a job I love has been recognised like this.”

MD, Dave Stone, added: “Lightning protection is a very niche sector requiring some of the most highly skilled technicians. The industry is crying out for more young people like Robbi to enter the field and, at Stone, we’re hugely supportive of all our young apprentices. Robbi has done exceptionally well and is excelling in his field and the whole team at Stone is really proud that he has been singled out with this award.”

Darlington brothers, Dave and Grahame Stone, established Stone Technical Services in 1998 and now have offices in Edinburgh city centre, near Stockport in Cheshire, close to Piccadilly Circus in central London and Pinner in Middlesex, as well as their HQ on Kellaw Road in Darlington.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Anna Addison .

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