Business in the Spotlight: AD Sprinklers

AD Sprinklers is a Tameside born business that covers all aspects of design, project management and installation of fire sprinkler systems across all sectors. This April, they have been in business for 10 years, and what a 10 years it’s been! From Amanda Ball (Owner) starting up the business herself in 2006, it has gathered momentum and gone from strength to strength, employing over 30 members of staff and 60+ subcontractors. With a current turnover of £3.4 million and strong growth prospects, the business is well on the way to hitting the £5 million mark in the next 2 years. Not too shabby to say the least for a business which started life from a kitchen table.

Tameside means business

As one of the borough’s Tameside Means Business companies, the Employment and Skills Team from Tameside Council were invited to speak to Amanda. The meeting allowed Amanda to provide more information about what lies behind the success of the business, along with introductions to some of the home grown talent AD has produced and nurtured over the years. Here is how it went;

Located in the former Heaton Mill in Hyde, when you first enter the office, you get an instant vibe of togetherness. AD feels like a close knit unit and everybody is very welcoming.

Amanda talks about Malcom Reade joining the company 3 years ago in the role of Managing Director, as a huge milestone for the business and whose appointment helped take the business on a real journey of growth. From a lifestyle business turning over a steady £1.5 million each year for around 4 years, the team envisaged doubling this turnover within the next 3 years. Amanda fondly recalls the team stating “with dedication and hard work, we could perhaps accomplish this in 2 years”; they actually achieved it in 1, surpassing their expectations.

AD strongly believes investing in the training, development and upskilling of their staff underpins the core values of their business, which is evidenced by its excellent staff retention record. Young people and talent are something that goes hand in hand at AD and the business has its fair share of individual success stories. Two such stories are detailed below:

James Hague, Contracts Manager

James was the first trainee AD took on in 2008. He is now a Contracts Manager heading up a whole team in the front office

Dean Smith, Fitter

Dean joined the company 4 years ago as a ‘fitters mate’. He is now fully qualified, works independently and in charge of his own van.

All AD engineers are supported to achieve the Loss Prevention Certification Board Course (an industry technical course of 3 levels).AD is also unafraid to support the ambitions of its staff by giving them opportunities to learn about other areas of the business, for example Chloe Lloyd was brought into the business as a young contract administrator and is now completing her AAT in accounts. Amanda explained how they like to move people to different departments if they have expressed an interest in other areas, are capable and willing. Over the years this has been proven to help get the best out of the team. Chloe is now solely responsible for the businesses accounts, which is a fantastic personal achievement and a huge benefit to the business.

It’s clear that AD is a business which believes in growing talent. It has taken on trainees and apprentices year upon year and developed them immensely. At present, 4 apprentices are undertaking the Level 2 Certificate in the Fire Sprinkler Installation (QCF) course, which is the first national qualification for sprinkler installers. This is incredibly significant as Amanda herself helped develop this course in her capacity, as a member of the training committee for the industry trading body BAFSA. AD’s Leah Ormrod, an apprentice, who has now become a permanent employee, is the first female to undertake the Level 2 Certification in Fire Sprinkler Installation. Having been in the industry for over 20 years, Amanda is both proud and encouraged to have Leah on board championing the course for women. It is hoped that a Level 3 Certification in the course will be developed in the near future to support progression and inspire more young people to join the sector. Amanda is also working with BAFSA on the development of a Careers Pathway for the industry.

Tameside means business 2

Finally, AD’s commitment to raising the profile of the sector with young people is also at the core of business. Amanda’s belief is that it is never too early to make them aware of the skills needed and career opportunities within the sector. AD has supported the Primary Engineer Scheme for a number of years, which involves their staff going out to visit local primary schools engaging children aged 6-7, to spark their interest in engineering from a young age. They have the opportunity to get involved with hands on activities such as building a car and design drawing. Amanda says:

“It’s great to engage with the youngsters; it’s when things begin to spark after all and is always a really positive experience all round. The kids are so enthusiastic and I would encourage other businesses to get involved.”

It’s really refreshing to see a small business achieve such great success; not just the success you can count, but the achievement of people who without the help and support of the business may not have progressed to the positions they are in today.

Well done on your 10 year milestone AD Sprinklers…and here’s to another 10 years of success!

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