Apprentices Josh Perkins and Dan Jameson with Birtley Group Head of People Carla O’may - Photo by Lee Dobson

Tyneside manufacturing business Birtley Group has welcomed two new apprentices, the first to be recruited under the group’s new apprenticeship scheme as part of its long-term commitment to invest in young people and retain home-grown talent.

21-year old Daniel Jameson and 18-year old Josh Perkins have started their training to become specialist welders learning the trade through a combination of hands-on guidance on site and academic study at both Sunderland and Teesside colleges.

The trainees are based at the manufacturing site in Chester-Le-Street, which produces a wide range of steel lintels and specialist doors for trade, industry, house builders and housing associations, under its Birtley Lintels and Bowater Doors brands.

Head of People Carla O’may said: “Welding products is one of the biggest parts of our business as we produce over 25,000 tonnes of steel products each year so to be able to invest in this area will help improve production and lead times for customers. The lads have already demonstrated maturity and a passion for what they do so I have high hopes for their careers within the industry.”


With over 50 years of manufacturing experience, Birtley Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hill & Smith plc. which sees revenues of more than £700 million and a workforce of 3,600 people.

Over the past two years, Birtley Group has seen a new senior leadership team come into position introducing updated systems and processes to benefit customers and help to grow the business while maintaining its long-standing excellent reputation for quality and service.

Josh Perkins, from Stockton, said: “I looked at a range of apprenticeships but was especially attracted to Birtley Group because of the way they work and the company culture. I’ve always been interested in welding so this gives me the perfect opportunity to do what I enjoy and bolster my skills further.”

Having started a degree in mechanical engineering before the pandemic hit, Dan Jameson discovered his passion for welding following a placement at Tata Steel. “While at Tata, I saw people welding and took a great interest in the logistics of it,” he said.

“After discovering the opportunity to join Birtley Group, I am now working towards my level 2 welding qualification and I know there is a commitment by the Group to afford me to be able to develop my career further when I finish the course.”

Ms O’may continued: “As this is a new scheme within Birtley Group, we are starting small this year to really nurture the apprentices and next year, we will be looking to open this up further to create more opportunities for young people.

“We have numerous opportunities within Birtley Group whether that includes putting people through a degree route or supporting their journey through apprenticeship schemes and other development options to support their growth and development.”

Birtley Group is home to three of the UK construction industry’s most trusted names, Birtley Lintels, Bowater Doors and Expamet.