Partnership is solid success

Graduate Stuart Hedley and Martin Kay, managing director of Bespoke Concrete.

Graduate Stuart Hedley and Martin Kay, managing director of Bespoke Concrete.

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BOFFINS at Sunderland University have helped a company cement its business.

 Bespoke Concrete turned to the university for help to develop a new step and shelf unit, which is designed to be placed in a cellar to form a spiral staircase and shelving system for storing wine.

 Staff from the university’s Business Gateway teamed up with the company to successfully bid for funding from the Collaborative Innovation Partnership, to work with the firm and masters graduate Stuart Hedley.

 They use the latest computer-aided design tools and engineering techniques to complete the project.

 Stuart, who studied scientific enterprise, was recruited to work in the business full time for nine months.

 The funding also covered mentoring and technical support from experts from the Digital Factory department in the university’s Institute of Automotive Manufacturing and Advanced Practices.

 The team produced a final design which features a reduced cement content and is strong, safe, eco-friendly and competitively priced.

 Martin Kay, managing director of Northumberland-based Bespoke Concrete, is delighted with the success of the partnership and business benefits.

 He said: “Through the partnership we have benefited from the resources and technical input on modelling and stress testing provided by the university.

 “This has enabled Bespoke Concrete products to move from the conceptional idea stage through to a position where we are now able to market the product.”

 Stuart Hedley was delighted to have kickstarted his career, saying: “The project has provided the opportunity to apply the skills developed during my time at university in a real world business environment,” he said. “I have been given the freedom to get involved with all aspects of the business process from enquiry processing, providing quotes and organising production through to product delivery.

 “The best news though is that I have now been offered a contract with Bespoke Concrete and have started full-time work with the company.”