Josh Kirk, Year 11 Engineering Ambassador, Westfield School, Sheffield

I joined the Cutlers' BLBW programme on the Engineering strand, at the start of Year 9 in 2015. In our school there are also other strands of the programme running such as Healthcare, Arts & Culture and Digital, but I have always been interested in Engineering. Our School has been doing this programme for 5 years now and last year we had 150 Ambassadors in our school.

I am now in Year 11 and I have loved every minute of it, and will continue to do so until I graduate and receive my Cutlers Passport next year. The Passport is given to those who have completed the programme and gained the skills needed. It will tell future Employers what I have learnt and is signed by our Business champion, our Head teacher and the Master Cutler.


To get on to the Cutlers programme I went through an interview process like you do in a real job and that was my first challenge on the programme. First I was interviewed by a Cutlers Ambassador, and then by our Business champion and John Barber from work-wise. Not everyone who was interviewed was able to get on the programme as there was only 12 places available, so I’m glad I was chosen. The programme has shown me that being prepared for work is the best way possible for people of my age. 

In the last 2 years, I have been to GUTS (get up to speed) twice, at Magna Science Centre in Rotherham

First it was in Year 9 as a visitor, and then in Year 10 when we had to help to organise it and work there for the day. We have been a part of many challenges, these included creating our own business and representing a company.

For example we got 'sponsored' by Sheffield Tooling Company Ltd and this gave us skills such as leadership & team working.

I even got interviewed by Calendar news to go on the television that evening and talk about what we had done at Get up to speed.


During the programme we have learnt all about the Cutlers skills set which are 18 skills, that local Employers told us they are looking for when young people apply for jobs. The skills we learn over the 3 years include things we do every day at school such as numeracy and literacy, but then also how to be more organised, be more resilient and determined. Although im currently on the Engineering programme, these skills are transferable so if after I finish school I decide that I don’t want to do engineering,  I can still use these skills to help me in a different environment or industry.



All schools on the Cutlers BLBW programme have business champions who help to mentor us. Sarah Ward is ours at Westfield and she is always checking on us all, to see how we are getting on and she always encourages us to try harder and tells us how proud she is of how far we have come. She was with us from day one of me joining the programme and has worked with me for the last 2 years, which is good as we get to see the same person all the time which makes you feel more confident. I never really said thank for everything she's done for me, so thank you Sarah for everything, me and everyone else from the Cutlers programme in Westfield couldn't have got this far without you.

My Work Experience….


Me and another student Tom, went to Straaltechniek UK Ltd on our 2 week work experience, which I really enjoyed. Whilst I was there, I got to see all the different aspects of an Engineering company, such as finance, sales, purchasing as well as the shop floor which included the CNC machines, fabrication department and shot blast machines. I got to have a go at working in the Blast room using special equipment whilst wearing a special protective suit.

We went to one of their Customers called Tecomet in Sheffield, who make parts for the medical industry such as knee joints and hip joints out of titanium and also for Rolls Royce. It was good to see another Company and speak to their staff and find out more about what they do. Whilst I was on the work experience, the staff at Straaltechniek checked on me and Tom every day to see if we were enjoying it and staying safe of course. I never realised there were so many jobs in an Engineering company and it was good that we got to experience it. Every day I had to get up really early and make my way to the Company, it was hard at first but I adapted to it and used the skills I am learning on the programme to help me. 



This year I got invited to the Careers and Enterprise conference at the English Institute of sport in Sheffield, to work on a stand with Chris & Sarah, telling people about the programme and what we do as Ambassadors. I also got to meet other Ambassadors from Yewlands School in Sheffield who were also helping. I really enjoyed it and we got to meet Lord Young and have lunch with him. I had to answer questions in front of a room full of people, which I didn’t know was going to happen. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to do this, but this programme has really helped me with my confidence, and speaking in front of groups of people. I have also been a part of assemblies, Sarah took me to The Dearne ALC which is a School in Barnsley who also take part in the Cutlers BLBW programme, and I talked to a group of 200 Year 8 students about my work experience and why I had become an Ambassador. Its really good that we get to see other Schools and meet other students as this also helps me build my skills, ive also made friends with people through the programme too.



A few weeks ago I did a presentation to some Year 5 and 6 students and their parents at our local Primary School. This was not through the Cutlers programme but something my school asked me to do. They said they thought it would be a good opportunity for me.. it was! After I had finished speaking, one of the parents came over to see me and asked if I would be interested in an Apprenticeship when I left school, I asked him why? and he told me that he was Managing Director of a local Engineering Company, and would like to offer me a job as he was impressed with what he saw. I would never have got these kind of opportunities if I hadn’t of joined this programme.   My Head teacher who is new to our school at Westfield, was really happy with me too as he said I was a good Ambassador for his school too.


In September 2017, I also went to a work-wise Business Breakfast at the new Don Valley School at the Olympic Legacy Park, to talk to local Employers about the programme and why they should get involved. I really enjoyed it and a few days after, my teacher said that Matt Sheridan from Sheffield Chamber of Commerce & Industry, had written a letter to my head teacher to say how impressed he was with me, I’m really proud of myself for this, and so are my parents.


I often get asked if  I would recommend the Cutlers programme to other students, my answer would be yes absolutely ! it's an amazing experience and you learn whilst you are having fun. Don’t get me wrong, the Cutlers programme isn't always just fun and games,  as hard work needs to be put in and effort has to be made,  but I can tell you it will definately pay off when you apply for a job …

so yes I would recommend it, you will love it like I do.




Josh Kirk, Year 11 Engineering Ambassador, Westfield School



Straaltechniek UK Ltd granted ISO 9001 2015

Straaltechniek UK Ltd has become one of only a handful of organisations in the Sheffield City Region that has been granted ISO 9001 2015 Quality Standard Certification.

Although Companies with the 9001 2008 standard have until September 2018 to transition to the new 9001 2015 standard, Andy Allen (MD of Straaltechniek) said ''We didn't want to wait that long. For me, if there is a new standard out there that enables us to run our business more effectively and give our customers increased confidence, then why would we want to wait to implement it? I spoke to our quality consultant about time frames involved and we decided that we would implement the new system and launch it on 1st December 2016. Through a lot of hard work and interaction with all department managers, this was achieved. We started to gather evidence and after carrying out several management review meetings and some internal audits we put in for an external audit from TUV. I'm pleased to say after 2 days of internal auditing of all our systems and documented processes and procedures we were awarded the new standard.''

ISO 9001 is the International standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Straaltechniek uses the standard to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

Sarah Ward (SW Solutions) who is the Quality consultant for the company said, '' Straaltechniek first became registered with ISO 9001 back in 2006 when it was the 9001 2001standard, they then moved to a new standard in 2008 and then have just become registered with the 9001 2015 standard. In the beginning the Company wanted to have better systems of work and to show Customers that they were keeping accurate systems and had traceability. Since then the Company has expanded and they are now doing more in house processes than ever, which brings with it the need for more documented procedures and controls. The new standard is more of a Business tool and the responsibilities fall to Andy & his Directors to manage it. There is a requirement for a quality management system, including new documentation, document control, and determining process interaction. Management of resource forms a large part of the standard including human resources and the organisation’s work environment. Focus on Product realisation, including the steps from design to delivery & Measurement, analysis, and improvement of the QMS through activities like internal audits and corrective and preventive action.
Andy Allen said '' I'm proud of what Straaltechniek has achieved and I hope our Customers will recognise the effort we put in to being one of the first few to transition to the new standard''.

Straaltechniek UK 'From Humble Beginnings'...........

In 1996 Straaltechniek UK started a miraculous 20-year journey from converted cow sheds on North Farm, Gildingwells owned by Graham Ward Now Chairman of the UK Group to a modern 20,000sq ft. Factory & Offices headed up by Andrew Allen Managing Director.

Continued growth in the Surface preparation industry forced a move in 2002 to North Anston Trading Estate near Sheffield and within 2 years Straaltechniek purchased a 5000-sq. ft. Unit at Valley Works Sheffield. The unit at Valley Works added craneage facilities to allow the refurbishment of Shot Blast machines as well as the manufacture of spare parts.

As demand for Straaltechniek products and services increased along with their first one-million-pound order from Marshalls Building Products PLC units 8 & 9 boasting 22,000 sq. ft. were added to the factory portfolio in 2006 to allow the company to manufacture NEW standard and large heavy duty machines.

The company started to outgrow its existing office facilities and in 2013 The Master Cutler of Sheffield opened a 2-story office block adjacent to the factory to house increased Engineering Applications, Sales, Finance, Production & Logistics personnel in a comfortable modern office environment.

2013 Two Storey Office Block Opened   

The next and latest piece of the Straaltechniek UK ‘jig-saw’ is an additional 6000 sq. ft. building again opened in December 2016 by The Master Cutler of Sheffield along with Managing Director Andy Allen which now includes a new equipment Show Room, Meeting & Training Room, High Definition Plasma Cutting Bay, Painting Hall, Logistics Office & Consumable Stores



December 2016 New Showroom/ Demo Facilities Including Stores, Painting Hall & High Definition Plasma Bay

Andy Allen (MD Straaltechniek UK Ltd)

& Master Cutler 2016 Richard Edwards

Straaltechniek Christmas Party

As part of The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, Straaltechniek held their annual Christmas party at the Cutlers Hall, Sheffield. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Straaltechniek 

Straaltechniek UK Ltd have decided this year not to send out Christmas Cards to our Customers / Suppliers, instead we have made a donation to our local Children's Hospice, Bluebell Wood.
If you would like to make a donation or find out more information on this charity please click the link below.

We hope you all have a good Christmas and New Year from everyone at Straaltechniek

Opening Day at Straaltechniek

Due to continued growth throughout the years, Straaltechniek UK Ltd has made further expansions to our UK Headquarters in Sheffield. This includes a New Showroom, HD Plasma Cutter, Paint & Spraying Bay and a larger Stores area.

As Straaltechniek UK Ltd is a part of Made in Sheffield, and part of The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, The Sheffield’s Master Cutler was in attendance at the event and cut the ribbon to officially open the new premises. Customers and Suppliers joined Straaltechniek for the special occasion. 

Straaltechniek Improves Leading Foundries Production

Straaltechniek UK Ltd have recently refurbished and supplied this 180 Litre Tumble Shot Blast machine into one of the UK’s leading foundries.

The metal slat belt machine is a critical part of their increasing production demands.


Straaltechniek UK Ltd can offer refurbished shot blast machines from stock and can also refurbish a customer’s current machines.



Straaltechniek UK Ltd have been accredited with Safe Contractor. 

After working towards the accreditation to become an approved supplier & contractor for JCB (one of our biggest clients), we are extremely pleased to announce our certification for Safe Contractor. 

SafeContractor is part of the Alcumus Group, the market-leading provider of technology-enabled compliance risk mangagement, certification and verification services.

Board Changes at Straaltechniek 

65th Birthday at Straaltechniek 

Happy Birthday to 3 of our staff today, we wish them all a very Happy Birthday from all at Straaltechniek UK Limited.

Straaltechniek at Surface World 2015

Straaltechniek at GIFA Exhibition 2015

New Multi Media Blast Room



We are pleased to announce the purchase of a containerised multimedia blast room, with a 4m x 10m capacity. This is in addition to the table and hook machines and wet/dry blast cabinets that we already have to carry out contact blasting. We aim to offer our customers not only the opportunity to buy new and refurbished machines but also to give them the ability to have their own goods blasted here on site. Please contact our sales team for a quotation on 01142 571077.


Football raconteur Barry Fry and comedian Gary Skyner help raise funds for Dementia UK at Barrett Steel event


Straaltechniek attended Barrett Steel event to help raise funds for Dementia UK. Football raconteur, Barry Fry and much loved comedian, Gary Skyner helped to raise over £10,000 when they appeared at a recent charity dinner for Dementia UK at the Leeds United Elland Road ground. The event was organised by Barrett Steel Limited, part of the Barrett Steel Group.


Auction items included numerous sporting items, including a Michael Schumacher signed shirt which sold for £1000 and a Lionel Messi shirt which raised £700. A novelty item of a giant pork pie from Robinson's Farm Shop in Halifax also sold for £300.  


Straaltechniek Sponsers Sheffield United Football Match 

On March 7th 2015, Straaltechniek UK Ltd, were the main match sponsor for the SUFC game against Fleetwood Town at Bramall Lane, Sheffield.

Our managing director Graham Ward, invited some of our suppliers and customers to the game and also the sales director from Straaltechniek International, Marco Wildhagen who was over from Holland visiting customers. Also attending were several staff and directors from our company. We were greeted by Paul Reeves, head of commercial at SUFC, along with a champagne reception. All of the Straaltechniek Team were given a tour of the dressing room and walk onto the pitch for photos (see below). We were treated to complimentary food and drinks and sat in the directors box to watch the game. After the game. After the game we got to choose Man of the Match and meet the players. Although the game was won by Fleetwood, we thoroughly enjoyed our day out at 'the lane'.



Centralisation Meeting for Straaltechniek offices and Distributors World wide February 2015 


In February 2015, our Managing Director Graham Ward, and Operations Director Sarah Ward, went to our Straaltechniek International office in Holland. The purpose of this visit was to meet and network with Managers and Distributors from other Straaltechniek offices worldwide.  
Pictured above, Graham and Sarah with Geert Naaykens, President of Straaltechniek International and other members of the Straaltechniek team.



New members of our Team

We are happy to announce that due to increased sales and growth in all areas of the Business that we have employed a new UK Sales Manager for the Company. 

James Lees, UK Sales manager joined us in December 2014.

James will cover the North of England & Scotland and will also assist our Sales Director with the general running of the sales activities for the Business.

We wish James all the best and welcome him to the company. 













Visit our Facebook page where you will find all what you need to know about Straaltechniek UK Limited. Our Facebook page is updated regularly so all recent news updates, case studies and other information will be available to view on there.


The majority of the information that is available to view on our website, will also be available to view on our facebook page as well.


At the bottom of every page on our website you will find a facebook icon. When it is clicked, it will take you to our Facebook page


Please leave us a review and let us know what you think of us!

Straaltechniek at the Farnborough Airshow 2014

Straaltechniek have just been at the Farnborough International Airshow. The Farnborough International Airshow prides itself on facilitating first-class business opportunities for the global aerospace industry. As one of the world’s largest exhibitions and air displays, the show provides a wealth of dedicated and focused business platforms.


Made In Sheffield News

Straaltechniek at the Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield


In June at the Global Manafacturing Festival in Sheffield at stand A39, a trade show was complimented by bespoke break out presentations and case studies by prestigious speakers from the industry. The conference topics included Automotive, Energy, Aerospace, Oil and Gas. In the afternoon technical sessions took place, which showcased new methods of manafacturing and new technology achievements. This was an interactive opportunity for the delegates that were involved.


Straaltechniek Official Opening Day for our new offices 2013


Straaltechniek UK Ltd are pleased to announce the opening of their new office facilities in Sheffield, officially opened on Friday 27th September 2013 by Neil MacDonald, Master Cutler of Sheffield. Over 50 guests including Customers, suppliers and friends turned out to celebrate the opening with us and were treated to a tasty breakfast roll and refreshments and given a tour of the factory & new offices.

Operations Director, Miss Sarah Ward explained that with increased sales over the past 3 years and taking on more employees to cope with these demands, we felt we needed to expand our facilities to cater for the Admin Staff, Sales team and production staff.

We have included a specific display area to house products that we manufacture so that we can show these off to potential Customers and visitors, and also built a large board room for meetings and video presentations.

We manufactured the Company signs and Made in Sheffield sign using our own laser cutting machines to enable Customers to see the scale of what we can produce.

Around the building we have complimented the exterior by adding Cromwell walling provided by one of our key Customer Accounts, Marshalls Plc.

As well as the new office facility, we wanted to show our Customers that machines can be built to their individual requirements here in the UK,  so in the summer of 2012 we decided to invest in over £1 million of new CNC equipment, such as Lathes, Machining Centres, Laser and Plasma cutting machines, CNC & a 200t Press Brake.

Since our major investment, our group of companies has received several major orders from companies such as Rolls Royce & Castings Plc.

Straaltechniek UK Limited, has recently become the sponser for Mount Saint Marys College Under 14's Rugby team

Mount St Mary’s has long been renowned for our excellence in

rugby Which is the major boys sport in the Autumn & Spring

terms.Throughout the last twenty years the College has achieved

notable performances on the rugby field. This includes reaching

two Daily MailCup Finals in 92 and 94; winning in 94.


There has been some exceptional individual
performances and this has resulted in a proud record of 23

schoolboy internationals since 1990,

including 2 England group captains



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