FRESH investment has created jobs and more than doubled turnover at a specialist asbestos company in South Tyneside.
Nichol Associates, based at Monkton Business Park, Hebburn, secured investment of £70,000 from the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund, which is administered by regional fund management firm, NEL Fund Managers, in 2011.
Since then, the firm has seen its annual turnover rise from less than £1m to more than £1.5m and its workforce expand from 22 to 30, with plans for another five new jobs in the next few months.
NEL has now made a second £70,000 Growth Fund investment in Nichol Associates, part of which has been committed to supporting the further expansion of the firm’s training services and facilities.
A full-size bungalow has been built within the company’s premises, which is being used to provide realistic experiences of the situations trainees may face when removing asbestos from homes.
Nichol Associates provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for all asbestos-related requirements, including surveying, removal, consultancy and training opportunities, plus an analytical testing service.
Established in 2006 by managing director Dave Nichol, the business grew quickly, on the back of enhanced measures being introduced around the responsible management of asbestos within non-domestic properties.
The company’s clients include councils as well as health and safety specialists, facilities management and asbestos consultancy industries.
Mr Nichol said: “The past two years have been extremely successful for us.
“But we know there are other commercial opportunities out there that will enable us to further increase our turnover and create new jobs. This second investment will help us go for them.
“The training side of the business has always been very important, but we knew we needed to increase the space we had dedicated to it, to make the most of it.
“Having this new facility in place, which can reflect real-life situations that our trainees might face, will be a real boost to what we can provide.
“It will also help us to look at wider health and safety training opportunities.
“We’ve had a really good relationship with the NEL team over the last couple of years.
“They know the business and can see the potential for further growth – so extending the relationship was a natural thing to do.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, said: “Making capital available to North-East firms that want to keep moving forward like this is crucial to the wider health of the regional economy.
“Nichol Associates has made textbook use of the initial investment capital it received from us, and it has strong plans in place to build on this progress.”