AIS will now offer specialist sub-sea welding services
Jamie Hardesty

Training centre investment to join North Shields manufacturer AIS' welding acquisition

North Tyneside manufacturer and trainer AIS has announced it will invest in new facilities to create a specialised welding training and coding centre, based in the North East.

The news follows the North Shields firm’s acquisition of Huddersfield-based Specialty Welds, an operator in the sub-sea welding sector which currently manufactures several patented sub-sea welding products.

Coded welding courses, from basic level up to the highest international industry standards and in all processes including Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), Manual Metal Arc (MMA) Metal Active and Metal Insert Gas (MIG/MAG) will be delivered in 15 custom-built welding bays and workshop areas in a newly created facility.

AIS has also become the only place in the UK to have a Zurich-accredited welding surveyor onsite to witness all coded tests, allowing welding training and testing together in one location.

Acquiring Specialty Welds means the firm can also deliver underwater welding training from the company’s Huddersfield site, whilst the manufacturing of welding products is being transferred to its fabrication facility in North Shields. From here, AIS designs, makes and installs specialist insulation and fire protection jacketing systems for industry.

All existing staff at Speciality Welds have been retained by AIS Group including managing director, David Keats, who is providing consultancy advice and support. David is well-known as an award-winning author of several technical welding manuals.

Paul Stonebanks, managing director of AIS Group, said: “Speciality Welds has an excellent reputation and more than 35 years of experience in the welding sector so it’s a great strategic fit for the business.

“Welding skills are much in-demand and there are huge skills shortages across sectors like manufacturing. Coded welders in particular are highly prized by employers because the ‘coding’ or testing provides assurance that the person can perform at that level.

“Using Speciality Welds’ expertise we want to create a world-class welding-training and coding offer where people get expert tuition and assessment services together in one place, as well as providing high-quality welding products.”

He added: “We also want to help companies navigate through directives such as European Standard EN1090 to ensure they comply with all the legislation around the fabrication and assembly of steel and aluminium structures – something many businesses are currently unsure of.”

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