Charlotte Allen: Reflecting On My Apprenticeship So Far

First year Apprentice at Alpha Manufacturing Charlotte Allen has thrown herself into her Apprenticeship from day one, and following on from her last blog, Charlotte updates up on what’s she’s been up to these past few months:

“So, where to begin? I am now eight months into my apprenticeship with Alpha Manufacturing and a lot has changed since I first wrote about what it’s like to be an Apprentice. During these past eight months I have attended a number of events such as Careers Fairs with our Apprentice Manager William Davies-Hill to discuss with Year 11 and 10s all about the amazing opportunities that can come from going into an apprenticeship after leaving school. It is so inspiring to speak to the young people, especially girls who are in the same position I was in only a year or so ago, and learn about their opinions on engineering and encourage these girls to take the leap and join myself and so many others in the industry.

“I have also ventured onto the factory floor for the first time since starting the apprenticeship and – wow – there was so much to learn! From spending a week with some of the second-year apprentices making crawling boards for our sister company Bri-Stor Systems, to learning all about how to fit tools into the CNC Punch machines. I have also had the privilege of working inside the brand-new Chemical Technologies factory under the supervision of the manager Justin Kelly, getting an insight to all the ground-breaking work that is going to be taking place in the factory and helping set up production ready for June.

Elan Valley“During the Easter Holidays, us first year apprentices took the annual trip to Elan Valley. It was a fantastic week full of team building exercises to really get us working better as a group. We climbed our fair share of Dames, attempted to build a raft to get across the river and lots of orienteering activities. On our last day we helped the local nursery spruce up their outside garden space. It was such a pleasure to give back to the amazing community and give the children a new and improved space to spend their time.

“On a personal note, I finished the week off very happy as I finally passed my driving test- so no more early mornings and coach trips to the JCB Academy for me. Hooray!

“Meanwhile at the JCB Academy, I have started my welding course – I definitely think a master class with Alpha’s very own pro welder Chloe Sales is needed! It’s great to be able to look back from where I started and really see the progress, I’ve made from being scared to make mistakes to learning from them every single day with the help from our tutors. I have loved every second of the courses so far and I am sure it will only grow for the months left to come.”

The Bri-Stor Group becomes The HEX Group in 2022

Staffordshire engineering and manufacturing business, Bri-Stor Group, which includes multi-award-winning businesses Bri-Stor Systems, Alpha Manufacturing, Atlas Coating, Hex Graphics and HEX Living has announced that from 3rd May 2022 the Group will be known as The HEX Group.

With the company launching its Alpha Manufacturing Chemical Technologies business in 2021 coupled with the recent launch of HEX Living – a new division designing and manufacturing leisure and garden products – 2022 is the time to present a new Group brand that better reflects the businesses’ total market offer.

Martin Smith, The HEX Group CEO, has led the development of the new brand and he comments: “The Bri-Stor Group has stood for world-class engineering and manufacturing for almost 40 years, and I am proud of our achievements as a Group.  From its inception, our family values have underpinned the success of our business, resulting in long-term trusted partnerships and today, we continue to form strong alliances in new and exciting markets.

“This is more than a name change.  It’s our opportunity to present to the market a new and reinvigorated strategy that better reflects the breadth and diversity of our total Group offer.  For those familiar with the Bri-Stor Group, the hexagon shape has always formed part of our brand story, so it seemed fitting that we bring it to the fore and not lose sight of how it all began.  These are incredibly exciting times for the business and as we continue to grow and extend our market presence, we create more jobs and further contribute to the wider economic prosperity of the region.”

The five trading divisions of The HEX Group remain central to the commercial output of the business, yet new for 2022, the business is formally launching HEX Careers – the sixth component of the Group.  With a highly respected Apprenticeship and Higher Apprenticeship programme in its 12th year, the Group is now focused on a wider people-development strategy which includes several new initiatives including The HEX Group Accelerate Programme.

Martin Smith explains more: “We have always placed a great deal of emphasis on the development of young people seeking a career in engineering and manufacturing and last year, we further enhanced our Apprenticeship Programme with the launch of nine Higher Apprenticeships.  As we continue to grow the Group, we recognise more than ever that we need to give the wider team every opportunity to enhance their career with both formal and informal education and training.  I want The HEX Group to be a business that people aspire to join and in doing so we reinforce ‘family’ as the central value that will continue to drive our great business forward.”

Staffordshire Welder Chloe Sales featured in London exhibition

Celebrating incredible people who made an impact – past, present and future

Chloe Sales, welder at multi award-winning Staffordshire sheet metal business Alpha Manufacturing, has been chosen to feature in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Gallery of Engineers stairwell exhibition at IET London: Savoy Place, which aims to showcase how truly diverse, innovative and exciting the engineering and technology professions are.

Welder Chloe SalesThe IET asked the public to nominate any engineer or technician who has made a positive impact to the industry or the world, and we received hundreds of brilliant and diverse nominations.

The top 95 nominations, as decided by a review panel, are now celebrated at the stairwell gallery exhibition at IET London: Savoy Place. The review panel comprised some of the best minds across the engineering sector, including those with experience championing EDI, and some representatives from the IET.

The list features people from the past, including some of the well-known greats, to some who had been overlooked, as well as incredible people from today and those working on amazing things for the future. A few of the outstanding people who have been included are LatchAid creator, Chen Mao Davies; engineer and LGBTQ+ right activist, Cel Welch; dedicated suffragette, Laura Annie Willson; and enigma codebreaker, Alan Turing – all individuals who have made a real difference for today and tomorrow.

Head of EDI at the IET, Dr Laura Norton, said: “I’m delighted to see the final collection of individuals nominated for recognition from our celebrating impact campaign. It showcases the true diversity of successful engineers and technologists throughout history and in the present day. These amazing individuals provide role models for the future generation and inspire us all.”

“At the IET we want to change outdated perceptions and showcase the diverse talent and creative careers in our sector, and this campaign helps us to do just that.”

Chloe Sales said: “I am honoured beyond words to have been nominated for this stairwell exhibition. During my career so far, I have worked to not only increase my skillset but also to inspire the next generation of welders to pursue welding and engineering through work-experience and apprenticeship routes.

“To have been recognised as having a positive impact on my industry makes everything that I do worthwhile and encourages me to keep working to empower and inspire.”

Neal Lafford, Operations Director at Alpha Manufacturing, said: “When Chloe came to Alpha to continue her welding apprenticeship years ago, we immediately recognised her potential, from her clear passion and dedication to learn and challenge herself.

“Having supported Chloe on her journey from apprentice welder to a leader in her field, inspiring the next generation of welders not only within our business, but throughout the world through the platform she has built, has been a proud moment for us, and we couldn’t be more pleased that she will be able to continue to inspire others through this exhibition.”

The exhibition is now available to view at IET London: Savoy Place or you can learn more about the inspiring 95 engineers and technologists on the IET website.


Buying British: Why Manufacturing in the UK makes sense

The past few years has seen businesses facing struggles like never before, from the uncertainty brought about by Brexit to the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, 2022 has begun with its own unique set of trials.

Beginning in December, the UK’s cost of living crisis has seen inflation jump to its highest level in almost 30 years, at 5.4%, creating rising pressure on businesses.British manufacturing

It isn’t just inflation affecting business. Fuel and energy costs are at an all-time high, and the transportation costs of exporting goods for both road and sea freight have risen, in some cases to four times the pre-covid cost. With the recent news of the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, this event has caused more uncertainty around rising fuel prices and interruptions in the  supply of parts such as machinery and raw materials.

Rob EleyAlpha Manufacturing Commercial Director, Robin Eley, shares his thoughts on why choosing British sheet metal suppliers can help alleviate supply chain and export uncertainty.

“There’s no doubt that UK Manufacturing may be feeling exactly the same pressures of the global energy price hikes that are being felt through the entire supply chain.”

“However, keeping manufacturing in Britain reduces many of the costs, the most significant of which is transportation. Shipping and logistics prices, as well as delays in delivery, have led to a number of supply chain issues.”

“Sourcing production outside of the UK used to be a viable way to sub contract sheet metal fabrication, but as time has moved on, the costUK Manufacturing benefit, logistics and infrastructure that supported this kind of trade has eroded. British manufacturing is world-leading and by reshoring to the UK, companies benefit from a more localised control of production, ensuring that everything from communication to quality standards are to the highest standard possible.”

“With world-class engineers here in the UK, along with strong partnerships with leading suppliers, we have the expertise, capacity and ability to prototype and progress production opportunities, without the inflated price tag involved with logistics.”

“There are other moves we are taking as a company to be self-sufficient when it comes to energy. Recently, we replaced all of our lights in our 85,000 sq. ft site to LED lights, saving energy and doing our part to for the environment. Our next step is to implement 1960 solar panels on the roof of our factory, with the eventual aim to be off grid in the next 5 years. By putting this infrastructure in place, we are not only working to secure the future of our business but we are able to remain cost competitive.”

“We are increasingly supporting our customers, from a wide variety of sectors, to take on their production and alleviate some of the pressures facing businesses today.”

If you would like to find out more about how we can support reshoring your sheet metal production to the UK with our complete in-house fabrication service, get in touch.

Award-Winning Stafford Manufacturer Hosting Recruitment Open Day Ahead of Specialist New Factory Launch

Fifty skilled and trainee production roles created across new 35,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art facility and 85,000 sq. ft Hixon HQ

Multi award-winning sheet metal manufacturing business, Alpha Manufacturing, is hosting a recruitment open day to recruit for roles across its Hixon site and brand new 35,000 sq. ft production facility in Beacon Park, Stafford.

Taking place on 10th March, the event is being held at the 85,000 sq ft. headquarters in Hixon to give prospective employees the opportunity to take a tour of Alpha’s state-of-the-art facilities and learn more about the roles available at the new division Alpha Manufacturing Chemical Technologies. Interested parties will also be given the chance to participate in an on-the-day interview for the role they are interested in.

50 new jobs are being created as a result of the launch of Alpha Manufacturing Chemical Technologies, which will manufacture components for INEOS Electrochemical Solutions.

Based across the new production facility as well as Alpha’s Manufacturing’s existing HQ, roles available include Fine Finish TIG Welders, Laser Weld Operatives, Punch and Press Brake Operatives, Spot Welders, Quality Inspectors, General Machine Operators and more. The company is looking for experienced and skilled operators as well as those wanting to retrain or start their career within the engineering and manufacturing industry. Apprenticeship and Higher Apprenticeship opportunities are also available.

This first phase of recruitment is part of Alpha Manufacturing’s wider strategic expansion plan which includes the creation of 100 new Staffordshire-based jobs over the next five years. The new recruits will join over 400 other local people working within the wider Bri-Stor Group at Hixon.

Alpha Manufacturing Operations Director, Neal Lafford said: “We are so pleased that we can now begin recruiting for our brand-new Chemical Technology team. The new site brings with it some exciting opportunities and roles for us, not to mention the ability to support and develop our local workforce. There has never been a more exciting time to join Alpha Manufacturing and we’re looking for enthusiastic people who want to be a part of our growing company.”

Group HR Manager, Karen Barnacle said: “Recruitment open days have become a successful event across our Group businesses, in which we have taken on a number of attendees previously, even offering some positions on the day.”

Alpha Manufacturing’s recruitment open day will be held on Thursday 10th March 2022, with timeslots at 12pm and 2pm available. To find out more and sign-up, visit:

Award-Winning Staffordshire Manufacturer Launches New Outdoor Storage And Garden Furniture Brand

HEX Living unveils leading range of premium-quality metal outdoor storage solutions

Set to have a lasting impact on the outdoor storage and garden furniture industry, Staffordshire based multi award-winning sheet metal manufacturing business, Alpha Manufacturing, has launched a brand-new subsidiary – HEX Living.

Unveiled today, the business has developed a range of unparalleled, premium-quality metal sheds and storage solutions. Its first two products, Hixon – a huge 12,800L capacity shed, and Weston, a smaller, vertical unit, are now readily available to purchase online with a further nine products set to be added to the collection in the coming weeks. These include metal planters, deck boxes, horizontal storage units and four additional models of shed. Designed and manufactured with a steadfast commitment to quality, all products come with a Lifetime Warranty. HEX Living is currently the only outdoor metal storage solution manufacturer to offer this to customers.

Paul Clews HEX LivingAlpha Manufacturing Managing Director Paul Clews said: “During Brexit and the pandemic, we identified a gap in the market for British manufactured metal sheds and other outdoor living products. As supply issues and import problems hit the industry, we knew that there was a real opportunity to introduce a range of UK designed and manufactured products that would give buyers improved choice, higher quality, readier availability and ultimately an enhanced buying experience. I couldn’t be more excited to see HEX Living launched.”

As a subsidiary of Alpha Manufacturing, all HEX Living products will be designed and manufactured at the business’ impressive 80,000 sq. ft, state-of-the-art facility in Hixon, Staffordshire. “Aside from the design and high quality of our products, one of our real points of difference” Paul continues, “is that all of our products will be manufactured here in the UK. This gives us a real competitive advantage over our competitors whose products are largely imported from abroad.

“Thanks to the size of our manufacturing plant, we have the capacity to manufacture and hold large volumes of stock here in Staffordshire. This means we can deliver our products to anywhere in the country in just five working days and without expensive delivery charges, providing an excellent purchasing experience for our customers.”

HEX Living has already successfully secured a major retail partner who will be supplying its Weston and Hixon products online and throughHEX Living Metal Shed several of its stores in the very near future. The business will also be exhibiting at garden and outdoor living trade show Glee 2022 in June as well as summer outdoor exhibition SOLEX in July.

“We are really excited about the launch of HEX Living and the possibilities that lie ahead. We’ve invested significantly in research, design, production and marketing to get the product here today and cannot wait to showcase it to potential stockists at the events. We have also created our very own mobile showroom, converting an articulated trailer into a moving space that we can use to visit customers with our products up and down the country.”

For more information about HEX Living visit:

Top Tips for Applying for An Apprenticeship by Will Davies-Hill

Group Apprenticeship Manager Will Davis-Hill, has guided over 100 apprentices through their studies and in that time has read hundreds ofWill Davis-Hill CV’s, conducted interviews and provided advice to many students nervous about their application.

Whether you’re looking at your apprenticeship options, preparing to apply for your dream apprenticeship, or are getting ready for your interview, Will has listed some of his top tips when it comes to applying for apprenticeships.

  1. Stand out from the crowd

Your CV is your opportunity to show the employer who you really are, why you want to pursue that particular opportunity and what you can offer the company. It’s also to give the company the chance to get to know who you are and what makes you different. Tell your story, this could be; what your hobbies are, what are your hopes and aspirations or even an achievement you’re proud of.

Are you part of a football team? Or perhaps you’re into gaming, dancing or reading. You may have made prefect in school or have done some work experience at the weekend. All of these things help to make you stand out in the mind of the apprenticeship employer and show your personality. You are the expert on you, so make sure you tell the best story of yourself that you can.

  1. Make a good impression

If you’ve made it to the interview stage of your application – well done! This is now your time to shine and show the hiring manager why you would make a great asset to their team. It is important to the employer that their apprentices represent their company, are professional and well presented.

Therefore, it all starts with dressing smart and looking the part. No matter what the role it is you’re applying for, make sure you give the best first impression possible to show the interviewers that you are someone who is professional and serious about the opportunity.

This also means making sure you’re on time and well prepared too. It’s always a good rule of thumb to arrive 10minutes early for an interview, this gives some room for possible delays and allows you to take a minute to re-read over your CV, make sure you’re feeling calm and displays to the interviewers that you’re punctual.

  1. Be prepared

top tips for applying for apprenticeshipsWhen applying for an apprenticeship, it’s not only about why the company should hire you, but the employers also want to know why you want to work for them. It’s important that you do your research on the company you’re applying for right at the start of your application journey. Find out about what they do, the history of the company, read their latest news articles or take a look at their social media. This way you can really tailor your CV to include skills they may be looking for.

For example, in your application for Bri-Stor Systems, mentioning that you have seen on the website that some vans have electric elements and this is something you would love to learn, would demonstrate your knowledge of the company and your passion for working here.

When you’re in an interview, this knowledge of the company will also help you when answering questions. For example, if the interviewer asks where you see your future, and you’ve seen an exciting article on Alpha Manufacturing’s website about their new Chemical Technologies factory, answering that you have recently seen that the company is expanding and you’d love the opportunity to work at the new factory would demonstrate your knowledge and passion for what the company do.

Before an interview, make sure you spend some time drafting some possible answers for questions. These may be answers to standard questions such as: “Why do you want to do this apprenticeship?” but also question’s that may make you think a bit more deeply, such as “What are your key strengths?” or “What skills would you like to develop through this apprenticeship?” By being prepared with answers for these questions, you’ll feel more confident in your interview.

Interviews are not easy, but do your best to look the interviewer in the eyes, smile and show them why you would be perfect for the job.

If you’re interested in applying for an apprenticeship at Bri-Stor Systems, visit

For apprenticeships at Alpha manufacturing, visit

If you would like more information about our Group apprenticeship scheme or have any other questions, email

Rising Energy Costs Causing Greatest Concern Amongst Staffordshire Manufacturers

Rising energy costs is the greatest cause for concern amongst the manufacturers attending today’s Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Manufacturers’ Forum, chaired by Bri-Stor Group CEO Martin Smith.  Representing the region’s manufacturing community, of the 14 firms that attended the event, over half (53%) of firms cited rising energy costs as the number one concern, followed by raw material costs (27%) as the second worry for 2022.

Attendees at the event represent the diversity of manufacturing in Staffordshire and today’s poll is a strong indicator of the current sentiment amongst manufacturers.  Martin Smith, comments: “The members attending today’s event represent every corner of manufacturing in Staffordshire, from large manufacturers employing several hundred people to small, niche manufacturers – all playing a vital role in the prosperity of our region.  As the 2022 kick-off meeting, today’s discussion focused on the year-ahead and the challenges we face as one community.  The Manufacturers’ Forum is a  great opportunity to set aside individual business challenges and share opinions and ideas on issues that affect us all.

“There’s no question 2022 will not be without its challenges.  In one form or another we are all dealing with the repercussions of the pandemic and over the next 12 months the Manufacturers’ Forum will be an important opportunity to share ideas, debate the changing economic conditions we all face and join our voices as one community.”

Staffordshire Manufacturing Group Supports Expansion of Local Blood Bikes Charity

Custom made racking and high visibility graphics supplied for two new bikes by Bri-Stor Group

Alpha Blood Bikes Sam WeaverEnabling the charity to extend it vital work, Staffordshire based manufacturing business, Bri-Stor Group, which consists of companies Bri-Stor Systems, Alpha Manufacturing, Atlas Coating and Hex Graphics, has supported Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes to add two new bikes to their fleet.

Headed up by Alpha Manufacturing Production Engineer and Blood Bikes volunteer Sam Weaver, the company has helped to design, manufacture and fit racking to the bikes, which will house temperature-controlled containers needed to transport blood, vaccines and other essential medical equipment across the country. High visibility graphics, akin to those used by the emergency services have also been applied to the vehicles.

The two new Moto Guzzi V85TT bikes, named Mark Mariner and Rainbow by the Blood Bikes Team, have already made their maiden trips, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes one from Leighton Hospital to the Medical School at Birmingham University, and the second to The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Production Engineer and Blood Bikes Volunteer, Sam Weaver said: “As someone who is passionate about the work that Blood Bikes do, when I saw an opportunity for our business to be able to contribute, I knew we had to get involved.

“It was great to be able to get stuck in designing the racks, fabricating and fitting them to the new bikes. Having such vast in-house capabilities meant that were able to quickly produce the parts for the bikes on-site in just a few days, as well as get the high visibility graphics applied by the HEX Graphics team at the same time. It makes me proud to be able to see the new bikes in action, made possible through our work.”

Blood BikesShropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes Fleet Manager, Nigel Howells said: “We are so grateful to Sam and the team at Bri-Stor Group for helping us with this project. The more bikes we have on the road, the greater the number of urgent medical items and blood products we can transport. Their work has added two more bikes to our fleet, enabling us to continue and expand our services.”

Bri-Stor Group hope to be able to continue to support the charity with new bikes in future.

New Year, New Stafford Factory For Alpha Manufacturing

Leading sheet metal manufacturing business, Alpha Manufacturing, part of the Bri-Stor Group, has marked a key milestone in its growth plans as it takes ownership of its new factory, just 6 months after breaking ground in June 2021.

key handoverThe new facility is designed and built to facilitate the manufacture of components for INEOS Electrochemical Solutions.  Operating as Alpha Manufacturing Chemical Technologies, this brand new 35,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art production facility at Beacon Park, Stafford, will see the significant ramping up of its precision engineering capability.

The new site will create up to 50 jobs, which includes roles for Apprentices and Higher Apprentices, and is part of Alpha Manufacturing’s wider strategic plans which includes the creation of 100 new Staffordshire-based jobs over the next five years. Operating a 24/7 shift-pattern, the team based at Beacon Park will join over 500 other local people working in the Bri-Stor Group at Hixon.

Ownership of the facility was handed over from development partner ISE to Group CEO Martin Smith, and Alpha Manufacturing Managing Director Paul Clews, as work now starts to see the new factory kitted out with state-of-the-art production machinery to facilitate the production of chemical engineering components. Work still continues by ISE on the employee welfare areas of the factory, which, are due for completion by the end of April.

Group CEO Martin Smith said: “This is a significant milestone in the history of our business, sparking the start of a new era for our growing company forging a long term, strategic relationship with INEOS Electrochemical Solutions. Although this has been a project long in the planning, since the ground was broken on our new site it’s been full steam ahead, and we are all so pleased to be able to start seeing the factory come to life.

“Our company has come a long way since its inception in 1989, and we are proud to be investing back into our county, including creatingMartin Smith and Paul Clews more quality jobs for Staffordshire people.”

About the development progress, Terry Healy, Business Unit Manager, INEOS Electrochemical Solutions said: “It is fantastic to see our collaborative project progressing so rapidly and we are all eagerly looking forward to the next phase of our journey, which will see world-class production begin at Beacon Park.  It’s a superb location, matched by the expertise of the team at Alpha Manufacturing – the partnership has a bright future.

Bri-Stor Group Donate Over £6,000 To Katharine House Hospice

Leading Staffordshire manufacturing business Bri-Stor Group, consisting of companies; Bri-Stor Systems, Alpha Manufacturing, Atlas Coating and HEX Graphics, has made a Christmas donation of £6,560 to its charity partner Katharine House Hospice.

Katharine House HospiceThe money has been raised throughout the year in a variety of fundraising activities, such as the most recent Christmas Jumper Day and Bake Off.

Katharine House Hospice provide a range of services which offer holistic care and support for people with advanced life-limited conditions across mid-Staffordshire and has been Bri-Stor Group’s official charity partner since 2020, chosen through an employee nomination process, and since then Bri-Stor Group has donated hand sanitiser units to the hospice as well as completing fundraising events such as a Unicycle Challenge.

On Monday 20th, the donation was handed over by Group HR Officer Jordanna Renshaw to Katharine House Hospice Senior Fundraiser Kelly Day. Kelly Day said: “As a hospice that does not charge for our care services, we rely on the kindness and generosity of the local community to help generate 2/3rds of the funds needed, almost £3m each year, to continue our care.

“It is businesses like the Bri-Stor Group which enable us to be able to continue to deliver the support that our patients really need. This generous donation will go towards continuing to provide our care services, such as patient at home visits and in-patient care at our 8-bed unit. We can’t thank the team at Bri-Stor Group enough for their continued support.”

Jordanna Renshaw said: “It was an honour to be able to deliver this donation to the charity today. Katharine House Hospice is close to the hearts of many of our employees, and it’s through them that these funds have been raised. A special thanks to Production Manager Rob Waterman and Key Account Manager Hannah Adams who have been instrumental in raising these funds.

“We hope our donation helps the charity in continuing it’s vital care services across mid-Staffordshire.”


The Group is supporting Staffordshire company Robust to take on its first ever apprentices

Staffordshire manufacturing and engineering company, Bri-Stor Group, is expanding its successful apprenticeship programme by preparing to take on a record number of apprentices and higher apprentices as well as opening its doors to train and support other local companies’ apprentices.

The Group, which includes companies; Alpha Manufacturing, Bri-Stor Systems, Atlas Coating and HEX Graphics, has invested inMorgan Apprentice its apprenticeship scheme for over 10 years, with a 100% pass rate upon completion of the course for the over 100 apprentices. This is largely due to its investment in a dedicated on-site learning suite and the appointment of an experienced Apprenticeship Manager.

Building on this success, the Group is now looking to expand its apprenticeship offering to include Level 2 and 3 engineering apprenticeships, as well as level 3 apprenticeships in other sectors and business roles from around the business including marketing, signage and graphics as well as Higher or Degree Apprenticeships, all of which they will be recruiting for 2022 intake.

RobustAs a part of this growth, the Group has already supported local steel fire and safety door manufacturer Robust to take on two of its first apprentices this September. Bri-Stor Group Apprenticeship Manager Will Davies-Hill will be supporting these apprentices throughout their three years training, as they take part in the Groups Apprenticeship Scheme, working in collaboration with The JCB Academy. The Group now hopes to be able to offer this training and support to more companies wanting to take on apprentices for the first time.

Robust Managing Director David Lycett, said: “As our business continues to grow, it is top of our strategic agenda to invest in young talent. We turned to the Bri-Stor Group for advice and felt immediate synergy, sharing the same growth ambitions, equally committed to creating opportunities for young people seeking an ambitions and exciting career in manufacturing.

“With the support of the Group, we have managed to onboard our first two apprentices and already have plans to take on more in 2022. Having access to the expertise of Will Davies-Hill, and utilising the collaboration with the The JCB Academy for the classroom aspect of the course, has been invaluable to us. We hope that with our continued collaboration, we will be able to grow our apprenticeship programme and therefore our workforce with driven and skilled young people.”

Group Apprenticeship Manager, Will said: “It is always an honour to support young talent through the apprenticeship programme and to seeWill Davis-Hill them move on to reward and exciting careers within the Group, many of whom end up in senior management roles within our company.

“As we grow our operations, it makes sense to share the apprenticeship expertise we have accumulated in the last decade with other firms that share our passion and energy.  As we get through the pandemic, never before have we been so committed to supporting other firms looking for ways to futureproof their workforce.  Over time, we hope to be able to offer our experience and expertise to other local businesses.

For companies interested in finding out more about Bri-Stor Group Apprenticeship Programme support, contact

Bri-Stor Group Team Raise Almost £1k For Movember Charity

Six employees from across the Bri-Stor Group companies Alpha Manufacturing and Bri-Stor Systems took part in no-shave November for men’s health charity Movember.

The team which included, Adam Deakin, Nick Thomlinson, Andy Gear, Louis Spalding, Corey Hammond and Dan Gill, grew their moustaches throughout November whilst raising money for a great cause.

The team were part of a total 220,000 men across the world who took part in this year’s fundraising, and managed to raise a final total of £960 for the Movember charity which has funded over 1,250 men’s health projects globally.

The money raised will go towards funding more than 1,250 men’s health projects in mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Well done team, we’re so proud of your efforts and loved seeing your tash’s!

Alpha Manufacturing Expands Capabilities with Next Generation CNC Router

Alpha has expanded its machining, routing and cutting capabilities for woods and plastics with the investment of the new AXYZ Infinite 6014 ATC CNC Router. This new router follows the company’s investment in the Trident 6010 CNC Router in October 2020.

new routerThe Trident helped to support existing production of commercial vehicle floors and van lining, for sister company Bri-Stor Systems.  Due to the demand for this service and new design possibilities opening up, the new Infinite CNC Router was purchased to support the production of phenolic ply wood and plastics for a number of sectors and industries.

The new Infinite router allows for quicker change over times between jobs boasting three separate spindle heads with integrated pressure feet.  The addition of an automatic tool changer further reduces tool changer over times with a choice of 14 tool stations. The increased bed size (over the Trident) means the machine can cut larger sheets of materials, providing more opportunities for larger components.

Having both of the CNC Router machines in place by the end of 2021 continues our 5-year investment plan that see’s the company dedicaterouter spindle heads £4million to new machinery, as it heads towards it’s Industry 4.0 smart factory goals. Previous investments have seen the factory fitted with the longest STOPA Storage System in the UK, the Salvagnini P4 Lean panel bender and the Trumpf TruBend Cell.

As a sheet metal manufacturer, expanding capabilities to offer a further range of material solutions, and bringing all production in-house, gives Alpha the unique opportunity to be a complete one-stop-shop for our customers. By enhancing its offering through onboarding of these two routers, Alpha continues to live up to its reputation as the most technically advanced sheet-metal manufacturer in the UK.

Bumper Year For Alpha Manufacturing In Multi Award Wins

The business has won four awards at two events recognising local business success.

Staffordshire based sheet metal manufacturer Alpha Manufacturing, part of the Bri-Stor Group, has become a multi award-winner after scooping four accolades at local business awards.

manufacturer of the yearThe business, which offers full in-house design and fabrication services to the UK and European market, was named Manufacturer of the Year 2021 by award sponsor The Greenbank Group at the East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire Business Awards on 11th November.  And just one week later was named Manufacturer of the Year 2021 by award sponsor Michelin Tyres, at the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

Both sponsors spoke about the innovation displayed by Alpha during the pandemic, where the business geared up its operation to support the hospitality and leisure industry and NHS covid testing centres as the UK re-opened after the first UK lockdown, with the manufacture of hand sanitiser units and protective screens.

Not only did the business take home these awards, but Alpha’s Production Engineer and former Higher Apprentice Gemma Smith also tookGemma Smith home the Young Employee of the Year award at both events, for her work raising awareness of Apprenticeships and women in engineering, as well as her quick progression through the business while committed to her degree and charity work.

On the recent success, Alpha Manufacturing Managing Director, Paul Clews said: “We’re still on such a high after winning these awards. These awards have come at such an exciting time for our business as we experience significant growth with the opening of two new sites, including our Beacon Park, Stafford facility, Chemical Technologies in collaboration with global company INEOS Electrochemical Solutions.

“But it’s the team that are truly award-winning at Alpha, we’re so lucky to have a business with such dedicated and committed people who never fail to go the extra mile.  I am proud to be part of this incredible team, there are so many great opportunities ahead of us, it’s a great time to be Team Alpha.

Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Awards“A huge well done to Gemma too who bagged another thoroughly deserved Young Employee of the Year award, it’s been a privilege to see Gemma achieve so much in the past five years at Alpha, she is testament to our Higher Apprenticeship programme, and I know she has such a bright future ahead.”

Gemma Smith said: “Winning one award was a shock, never mind two! First of all, massive thank you to Alpha Manufacturing for everything they have done for me in pursuit of my dream engineering career. I have benefited greatly from being given opportunities often outside my comfort zone, but those opportunities have served me well.

“Finally, a huge thank you to the judges from East Staffordshire & South Derbyshire Business Awards and Stafford Chamber of Commerce for believing in me and choosing me for this award. You don’t know how much it means to me to be recognized for my achievements and I feel proud to be recognized amongst a group of equally talented finalists and flying the flag for Apprenticeships, they are the future.”