Growing West Cumbrian firm picks up a number of new contracts

A growing West Cumbrian engineering firm has doubled its number of staff in the last six months as it picks up a number of new contracts across the county.

LEL, based in Lillyhall, near Workington, currently has 15 staff with seven of those appointments made since March.

This has included taking on a mechanical apprentice last year and a business administration apprentice in September.

Originally known as Lifttech Engineering Ltd and now LEL, the mechanical and industrial engineering company began life five years ago focused on lifting operations.

It has since expanded its capabilities to cover everything from mechanical and electrical installations to strip out and commissioning support.

Much of its work has taken place at Sellafield Ltd with recent projects including the installation of 300-tonne shield door equipment as a subcontractor for engineering company Wellman Booth Ltd.

It has also carried out work on shield doors at BAE Systems in Barrow and is installing new entrance gates at Sellafield Ltd.

This year the firm also received Build UK’s Leading Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Firm Northwest England award for 2021.

“We have the equipment and expertise to undertake all types of mechanical installations with a full team of highly skilled personnel supported by our technical department,” said managing director Nick Robinson.

“We install and commission specialist mechanical equipment including cranes, shield doors and associated motors, pumps and pipework to the nuclear industry and others.

“We’ve completed a number of separate projects on time and budget at Sellafield Ltd in the last 12 months.”

Prior to starting the company, Nick worked for Hydrex, in Durham, overseeing its lifting and rail operations and then started his own company named Lifttech Northwest before going to work at Sellafield for National Nuclear Laboratories.

“I worked as a fitter and took on a lifting appliance engineer’s role and was then appointed as assistant team leader and then up to project engineer as part of major projects,” he said.

“I started LEL off on my own doing lifting equipment inspection and sales, but as time moved on and other work avenues have come up, we have diversified.”

As it grows, LEL has also expanded its work in the local community.

It is the principal sponsor for Whitehaven RLFC, which changed its ground’s name to the LEL Arena this year, and also sponsors Whitehaven’s under-15 football team.

As part of its involvement with Whitehaven RLFC it renovated the Jimmy Clements grandstand – named after the club legend known as ‘Mr Whitehaven’ who died earlier this year.

“We paid for the new signs and we brought tracked access equipment in and provided staff to replace all the signage,” says Nick.

LEL is also working with Calderwood House, a homeless hostel in Egremont. LEL’s involvement with the hostel is partly driven by the work it does supporting veterans who have fallen on hard times.

Nick was in the King’s Own Border Regiment for six-and-a-half years before moving into engineering, while operations director Simon Matthews was a warrant officer in the services for 20 years before joining LEL in 2019.

LEL has also signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and gained a bronze award as part of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for their commitment to members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families.

Nick said: “It’s important to us that as we grow, we can create jobs in the local community, but also add long-term social value in other ways as well, whether it’s via the Armed Forces Covenant or work with local charities and community organisations.”