Queen’s award-winning manufacturer and industrial trainer, Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) is creating 12 new jobs as it celebrates ten successful years in business, which have seen it grow from a home-run business into a multi-million-pound global company.

AIS will take on 12 new starters across its UK-business – seven in the North East and five in Aberdeen. The roles will be in administration, manufacturing, instructing, finance and operations.

Set up in May 2007 by Paul Stonebanks, the company began as a small enterprise manufacturer and supplier of high-quality technical insulation materials to protect pipework and complex process equipment from temperature extremes, noise and corrosion. A former apprentice, 41-year-old Paul from North Shields worked extensively in the oil and gas sector and had great experience of the materials and application processes used in mandatory insulation, particularly offshore. He recognised the opportunity to manufacture a new high-quality insulation product, which was simple, quick to install, removable and re-usable to help companies reduce costs and time in maintenance.

AIS’s innovative new insulation systems were an instant success and the company quickly expanded from a home-run enterprise into business units. With an ambitious long-term vision, AIS diversified into industrial training and in 2009 opened a bespoke training centre in North Shields to deliver rope access courses. This proved to be an inspired business decision with the industrial training division becoming a major success story.

Over the next five years the company continued to reinvest profits and expand its product and service portfolio creating dozens of new jobs. In 2014, AIS increased its training capabilities and unveiled a new £2.5m offshore survival pool, along with a £1m on-site hotel and other industry-specific centres making its 200,000sqft flagship North Tyneside training village one of the world’s largest single sites, where workers could get all of the mandatory skills needed for the oil and gas, wind, maritime and heavy industry sectors.

World-class training centres in Aberdeen and Grimsby followed in 2015 and last year the AIS Connect Academy was launched to help young people, aged 16-24, get into work. At the same time the company’s technical division has expanded into a brand-new manufacturing facility in North Shields and launched several new products and services including the world’s thinnest jet-fire insulation jacket, metal fabricated cladding systems, welding products and innovative inspection services.

Despite a downturn in the oil and gas industry, AIS has successfully diversified into the wind energy and construction markets and grown phenomenally to become a multi-million-pound global business employing 150 people and operating from three strategically positioned UK locations and a number of international satellite sites. The company’s training division delivers the world’s largest portfolio of industrial skills courses and attracts over 30,000 delegates annually from across the globe. Advanced Industrial Solutions’ range of innovative technical products, which are manufactured at the company’s premises in North Tyneside, are exported to 30 countries worldwide.

In 2015, the company won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest award for British business – and was named UK Exporter of the Year by the British Chambers of Commerce. And in 2016 Paul Stonebanks received an OBE in recognition of his work.

Paul Stonebanks, managing director of Advanced Industrial Solutions, said: “The past ten years have been an amazing journey with the business achieving so much. We’ve invested over £12m into facilities and significantly invested in our people. As well as helping thousands into work, we’ve also injected a lot of money into the local economies.

“Every decision we make is centred around our people and our customers’ needs. This has proved a successful strategy and has helped us win some major UK training contracts and grow our reputation in new territories such as Canada, the Middle East and Indo-China.

“Although it’s not all been smooth sailing and there have been a few obstacles to overcome along the way, as our name suggests, we are a solutions provider. We face challenges head-on and overcome them, providing the customer with what they want, when they want it. This, along with the very strong team that works at AIS - a team I am immensely proud of - is what defines us as a business.

“We won’t rest though and we’re more than ready to realise further opportunities. So, here’s to the next ten years!”.