Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen praises family-run manufacturing firm

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has praised a natural stone work surface manufacturer for its dedication to encouraging the region’s young people in a visit to its factory.

F Jones Cleveland Ltd is one of the largest importers and fabricators of natural stone and quartz work surfaces in the UK, operating out of a 65,000sq ft factory in Middlesbrough. It supplies manufacturing, template and installation services across the UK, leading the way in innovation and best practice.

Since it was established in 1982, with just two employees, the family-run company has grown to employ 40 people, supporting its apprentices with advanced training and also providing literacy, numeracy and IT skills, to give them the best start to their employment.

At the meeting, the Mayor met Directors Ian Jones, Simon Jones and Craig Fyall who highlighted that F Jones hoped to expand its factory within the next two years and discussed recruitment support and what else the firm could do to help the local community.

The business has already signed up to TeesValleyCareers.com, the £3million UK-first initiative to give the region’s 100,000 young people at least seven meaningful engagements with more than 1,000 employers.

Mayor Houchen said: “F Jones is one of Tees Valley’s vital SMEs with the expertise and reputation that has allowed it to go on to national success. But it’s more than that – it’s a family-owned company which, through its almost four decades of trading, has kept an ethos of doing the best for its employees, providing a pathway for good-quality careers.

“Our discussions today, and by signing up to TeesValleyCareers.com, have shown the owners are keen to go even further in training up the next generation of quality manufacturers. I’m looking forward to hearing even more of their good work for our apprentices and its further growth.”

Ian Jones said: “We were delighted to meet the Mayor and take him on a tour of our factory, so he could see first-hand the hard work we’re doing here. 

“We’ve been running successful training courses for more than a decade and the majority of the team we employ today consists of those we’ve helped. With our future expansion plans, we’d love to engage and recruit even more people who can benefit from our training.

“We are excited to see how we can work even more closely with the Mayor, Combined Authority and other local organisations to really help Tees Valley.”