High-quality employment opportunities are offered with one of the region’s most iconic and long-standing employers. PIERRE BARRON goes behind the scenes at Stanley Black & Decker’s Spennymoor site
FOR more than half a century, it has been one of the most recognizable names in the industrial landscape of the Northeast, with products found all over the world.
Now Stanley Black & Decker (SBD) looks to the future at its Spennymoor location, creating new innovative products every day and expanding its workforce with high quality, well paying jobs.
Still, the scale of County Durham’s operation and its global impact would likely surprise most people beyond the 120 loyal employees who work there. Not exactly a well-kept secret, but certainly a Northeastern success story that deserves greater recognition.
And what is immediately clear as you walk around the site is that it is a place driven by creativity, passionate team spirit and transgenerational pride that Spennymoor – and the locals – play. a key role in an international industrial institution.
One of the most recent recruits is Paige Walmsley, from nearby Ferryhill, having joined five months ago as a junior design engineer after earning a mechanical engineering degree from Northumbria University. But Stanley Black & Decker has always been a part of his life as his father, Neil, served there for almost 40 years.
“It’s a name that means something wherever you go,” she said. “Everyone I know has a Stanley Black & Decker product somewhere in their house, or has used one at work, and I love being a part of it. ”
Paige came to the site for work experience when she was 14 and 16, and as soon as she graduated from college, she focused on vacancies for the company’s graduates.
“What’s great about working here is that you have the freedom to be creative and think outside the box,” she adds.
Papa Neil started out as a Toolmaker Apprentice in 1982, became a Senior Design Engineer, and is now Chief Project Engineer in the licensing area. Why did he stay so long? “Because there have always been new development opportunities within the company. It keeps it fresh and I’m delighted that Paige is now part of such a progressive global company.
The company’s Spennymoor connection dates back to 1965, when the site opened and began manufacturing tools such as drills and saws, with early product successes including the Workmate in 1973 and the original Dustbuster six. years later.
In 2002, manufacturing moved to Eastern Europe, but the design center and other professional services were retained before Black & Decker merged with Stanley in 2010 to become the largest power tool company and textbooks to the world.
In recent years, more than £ 4million has been invested in the site, which now includes a research and development center, a European parts distribution center and a national repair center.
SPENNYMOOR’S STORY IN FIGURES (to be used as a partition panel)
- Over 50,000 different products distributed by Stanley Black & Decker around the world
- 47,000 different Spennymoor spare parts shipped worldwide
- Over 3,500 orders per day leaving the Spennymoor site
- 3 new products launched by Stanley Black & Decker every day
- 50 tools sold every second around the world
- Orders over 1 billion Stanley knife blades this year
The business is growing all the time, as products in the ever-changing power tool market become more precise, digital, data-driven, and battery-powered. Brands include BLACK + DECKER, DEWALT, Craftsman, STANLEY Fatmax, Proto, Facom, and Mac Tools, while products range from tiny ball bearings to multi-horsepower vacuums.
In August, it was announced that the company had acquired the remaining 80 percent of MTD Holdings for $ 1.6 billion. This gives Stanley Black & Decker a giant base of gas powered mowers and trimmers. The deal created the world’s leading outdoor product company, CEO Jim Loree at the time, saying, “There is more to do in terms of acquisitions.
Another notable feature of the Spennymoor site is that there is no general manager. Instead, there is a one-level management collective, with the fundamental belief that people are the company’s greatest asset.
Shaun Lovelass, Director of Electrical Engineering, is another prime example of Stanley Black & Decker’s long-standing commitment to developing their own talent, and why there is such low turnover.
Shaun was born and raised in Newton Aycliffe, started in the company as an apprentice electrician when he was only 16 and has now been with the company for 34 years.
“My father was a carpenter and always did DIY, using the tools that are made here. So I grew up with the brand, ”he recalls.
“This place has always had the reputation of being the flagship company in the region, so it was a source of great pride to find a job here. I’ve always had a buzz when I’ve visited a retailer and seen our products on display – and that feeling has never left me in 34 years.
“Now I really like bringing in new talent because there are so many opportunities for great careers, with the right level of support. ”
Chris Garbutt, 29, is certainly getting the right support. He joined five years ago, directly after graduating in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Teesside University. He spent the first four years as an electrical quality engineer and is now in the electrical and electronics department, supporting prototypes for a wide range of products.
“Every day I have been in the business, I am learning something that I knew. I am passionate about the practical things and work alongside people with a lot of experience, ”says Chris.
Chief Design Engineer Jonathan Priestley is one of those supporting Chris’s development. Jonathan joined the company as an apprentice in 1986 and says, “It’s the people and the team spirit that make it a great place to work. If anyone has a problem, there is always someone ready to help.
The company is also passionate about diversity and strives for gender equality among its skilled workforce.
Rachel Davison recently joined as Environmental and Facilities Health and Safety Coordinator, and it was his perfect role as he combines his professional specialization with his passion for home improvement.
“My dad taught me to tinker, so I used tools made here in Spennymoor,” she smiles.
“Now I come home and see my dad using something like a DEWALT drill knowing it’s from this site. I also follow many home improvement accounts on Instagram, and it’s great to see people using our products.
Rachel came to Stanley Black & Decker from Hartlepool College of Further Education, where she also focused on health, safety and facilities. She worked in a biodiesel plant before that, after starting her career in banking.
“I’ve been here three months, but I feel a lot longer because everyone is so friendly and welcoming. Starting a new job can be intimidating, but not here.
Rachel has a 14-year-old daughter who hopes to pursue a career in engineering, and Stanley Black & Decker is already firmly on her radar.
Understandably, there have been some tough times along the way, but this is a positive time in the proud history of the Spennymoor site, with continued expansion, in part fueled by a boom in DIY and house extensions resulting from the pandemic.
The workforce has grown by around 30 over the past year and there are currently vacancies for a range of high quality positions in all parts of the site, including:
- Senior Mechanical Design Engineer
- Engineering program manager
- Senior industrial designer
- 3D surfacing designer
- Senior Firmware Engineer
- Senior electromechanical engineer
- Senior Electronic Design Engineer
- Senior Electronic Design Engineer
More opportunities are on the way and Peter Caine, Quality Manager – another longtime employee – believes the company is at an exciting stage.
“The world is changing rapidly and we have to move with it, so there is a strong push on innovation. It’s about investing in the future, and it’s great to see, ”he says.
After 55 years of ingenuity, it all represents a massive vote of confidence in Spennymoor as an important part of a global industrial giant.