Student summer project boosts Great Yarmouth company’s tool stocks

A summer project by intern students has boosted stock on the shelves at a specialist tool company in Norfolk.

Gee-Force Hydraulics hires and sells bolting equipment, mainly to the offshore energy industry, through its Great Yarmouth base. The company regularly takes on students for work experience to support the local community and gives youngsters the chance to sample life in the area’s buoyant engineering sector. But this year two East Norfolk College students have used their four weeks at the workshop to look at Gee-Force’s “retired” equipment.

They have checked it for serviceability and safety and put it back on the shelves to help during peak summer demand for maintenance of Southern North Sea oil and gas equipment. Chris Tennant, 17 from Fleggburgh, and Alex Hills, 16, from Bradwell, are doing the summer internships through the Ogden Trust, a charity which supports science teaching. As well as getting to grips with industrial tools, they learned how to check mechanical integrity – and are drawing up a presentation explaining what they did. Gee-Force managing director Graeme Cook comments,

“This is the first year our students have done a project which also has practical benefits for us. As well as helping them with experience and their CVs, it has put 20 tools back on our shelves to help with our busiest time of year which started early this year because the sector is thriving – so everyone is a winner.”

The students both want to get into engineering careers and said they valued the chance to learn tool skills and see how much preparation and maintenance was involved in keeping a flow of tools, such as hydraulic torque wrenches, on tap for clients. Gee-Force, part of the HTL Group, has an eight-strong staff at Beacon Park. They include a former work experience trainee Kyle Jerome, who has gone on to get full-time work as a workshop technician at the company, through its ethos of promoting and recruiting young talent.