News and Releases

Following the completion of a NVQ Level II in Gas Membrane Installation, Sally Cave, a 28-year-old Project Manager at Doncaster Membrane Installation Ltd (DMI), has become the first qualified female gas membrane installer and Training Assessor in the UK; and has received high praise from three leading trade organisations in the process.

Sally Cave on site web

Sally’s achievement is even more remarkable given the way men dominate the construction industry. According to UCATT, the trade union for the construction industry, women make up only 11 per cent of the construction workforce and just 1 per cent of workers on site. The Office for National Statistics says that the number of women working as roofers, bricklayers and glaziers is so low that it is unmeasurable.

Sally, who lives in Sheffield, has worked at the family owned business since 2013 and began studying for her qualification in 2014. It now means she can oversee the fitting of membranes on construction sites where there is deemed to be a risk of gas ingress from
the strata below the buildings.

Achieving the NVQ is just one step along the career development path that Sally has set out for herself, as she explains; “When I started work here in 2013, I was doing one day a week on admin tasks helping out my dad who started the company in 1993, when I was only four. I quickly realised that I could hardly tell the lads what to do unless I fully understood all the processes involved, so I enrolled to study through the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) approved British Geomembrane Association (BGA) course. It meant being out on site a lot, which I found I loved doing; even though I never really envisaged myself being out managing projects. Yes, this is a very male dominated industry, but I get total respect from everyone in the team because they know I can do exactly what they can irrespective of my gender,” said Sally.

Sally was presented with her NVQ Level II certificate by Martin Cockcroft, the new Chair of the BGA. “Sally has clearly shown that there are no barriers of personal development in our industry with the right training, support and motivation. On behalf of the BGA I would like to congratulate Sally on her achievement,” said Martin.

Sally Cave and Martin Cockcroft web

Sarah Beale, CEO at CITB, commented: “It’s great that Sally has become the first woman to complete this qualification, and we want many more people from all backgrounds to follow her. CITB encourages diversity in the industry – no matter who you are or where you come from, construction has opportunities for all. Congratulations again to Sally, I wish her the very best for her future career.”

DMI is affiliated to Build UK, which has also praised Sally for her achievement.

“It is always a great pleasure to see someone achieve professional standards and qualifications in their chosen occupation and huge congratulations to Sally as the first woman to gain this specialist qualification. We are an industry of opportunity and as Sally has demonstrated it is an industry that is #notjustforboys.” said Suzannah Nichol MBE, Chief Executive of Build UK, the trade organisation that provides a strong collective voice for the construction industry by bringing together clients, main contractors and trade associations representing over 11,500 specialist contractors.

The NVQ course covered a wide range of subjects including Health and Safety, Personal Protective Equipment, ventilation, gas dilution and installation as well as all the regulations surrounding installations.

“Gaining the qualification is important for my long-term plans,” says Sally “I really enjoy the training side of things and hope to develop a training school that becomes a beacon of excellence for the industry. DMI already runs upskilling courses for general construction workers that want to be able to lay membranes and move on to become qualified technicians. Unfortunately, we are still seeing unqualified people laying membranes - which is a really dangerous practice as inadequately laid membranes can be killers.”


Notes to Editors:

According to the BGA, the trade association that represents specialist installers, the gas membrane protection industry has approximately 200 specialist companies operating in the UK, including DMI which is a member of the BGA. The sector in which DMI operates came into being in the late 1980’s. Alongside qualified and approved companies like DMI, there is a very large unregulated market in self-installation or installation by “ground-workers” which is potentially ten times larger than the qualified one. There is also a volume of unregulated self-installation with poor quality materials and techniques being used on installations.

Gas membranes become a requirement where a new building is being erected on land that may have been contaminated at one point or is over disused mine works, leading to a risk of gas ingress into the building as happened on a housing estate in Gorebridge, Scotland. 64 council houses had to be demolished and rebuilt due to Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from old coal mines was found to be leaking into the houses; six people were hospitalised with suspected CO2 poisoning.

Certain construction projects require everyone on site to be qualified installers before they can even touch a membrane. Site Project Managers and third party verifiers are tasked with making sure everyone on site is qualified under the Construction Design and Management regulations 2015.

About CITB:
CITB is the Industrial Training Board (ITB) for the construction industry in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). CITB ensures employers can access the high quality training their workforce needs and supports industry to attract new recruits into successful careers in construction.
Using its evidence base on skills requirements, CITB works with employers to develop standards and qualifications for the skills industry needs now, and in the future. CITB is improving its employer funding to invest in the most needed skills and by making it easier for companies of all sizes to claim grants and support.

Sheffield’s design and manufacturer of bespoke corporate uniforms, Style Uniforms, has stepped in to make a massive difference to many of the city’s homeless people this Christmas, with a donation of nearly 100 all-weather jackets to be distributed by the charity, Homeless & Rootless at Christmas (HARC).

Style Uniforms and HARC web

Damian Dugdale and Peter Morris from Style Uniforms hand over boxes of jackets to Julie Roberts from HARC

HARC runs a drop-in service each year; this year it is based at the Cathedral Archer Project on Campo Lane in the centre of Sheffield. It provides, food, clothing and a range of health services as well as entertainment. HARC will be open from the morning of 24th December until lunchtime on the 1st January, 2017. While all the other support services for the homeless in Sheffield close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, HARC is the only one of its kind that stays open, thanks to the generosity of the volunteers that run the service.

Julie Roberts is a Trustee of HARC and welcomed the support from Style Uniforms.

“This is an amazingly generous donation from Style Uniforms that will make a massive difference to the people we support who may be sleeping rough this winter – it could mean the difference between life and death for some of them and we can’t thank Style enough for the wonderful generosity,” said Julie Roberts.

Style Uniforms Director, Damian Dugdale, says the company is more than happy to be able to help the less fortunate at this time of year. “We are a Sheffield based company and believe we have a corporate social responsibility to uphold in our own city. If we can help in any way, we will. HARC does a terrific job in looking after the homeless at one of the most challenging times of the year and we are proud to be associated with its work,” said Damian Dugdale.

Style Uniforms is based on the Manor Business Park, Sheffield from where it provides services to clients in the healthcare, hospitality, leisure and retail sectors all over the UK

Manufacturers of Spit Guard Pro, the protective restraint hood used to prevent restrained people spitting at the Police and other security staff, have moved to reassure the public that it is the safest and most humane method of protecting both parties involved in a restraint situation.

Spit Guard Pro

British Transport Police recently used a Spit Guard when restraining a young man at a London underground station. Footage of the arrest flooded social media and has been picked up by numerous mainstream media.

Spit Guard Pro was designed and is manufactured by KIT Design, a specialist Personal Protection Clothing company based in Sheffield. Director of the company, Paula Romano, says the public should be reassured that Spit Guard Pro has been developed over many years to the highest of health and safety standards.

“Spit Guard is absolutely the safest and most humane way to protect both the Police and a member of the public that is being restrained. It is manufactured to the highest design standards that take into account both the safety of the Police and the person wearing it.

“Spit Guard Pro is only used by the Police when they feel they are in a dangerous position when someone threatens to spit at them. Apart from the awful discomfort of being spat at, Spit Guard Pro protects the Police from the threat of contracting transferable diseases such as HIV AIDS, Hepatitis C and other infectious diseases.

“The Guard is hypo-allergenic and does not constrain the wearer in any way. It allows them to breathe easily, maintain vision and able hear what is being asked of them in a restraint situation. We accept that to the untrained eye it is a strange looking and startling looking thing, but we have spent years developing it and it is the only one of its kind to have been certified under the CE 93/42/EEC Directive and is globally recognised as the most effective and safest of all similar products,” says Romano.

Ross Ferguson who is a member of the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) expert panel on restraint techniques says if an approved spit guard is being used properly, then the public need have no fears about its use.

“Restraint should always be a last resort but it is part and parcel of daily life in the securities industry. Spitting is a really big problem, with serious risks to the health of members of staff involved in restraining people. We are aware that there are differing opinions on the use of hoods but there are solutions, and Spit Guard Pro is one I approve of,” said Ferguson.

Director of Kit Design, Paula Romano, says that Spit Guard PRO is recognised by many Police forces as the best option to deal with spitting; “We are currently supplying police forces in Norway, Sweden, Scotland and Finland as well as the British Transport Police, Staffordshire and West Mercia Police and it is currently being trialled by the Metropolitan Police. It can be used when people; become aggressive in public places as well as prisons, hospitals, care homes and mental health services. It has been designed to catch and contain any spit or vomit and cannot be removed by the person. In the case of the person being ill while wearing it, Spit Guard Pro can be removed without any of the contents of the hood coming into contact with the wearer or the person removing it. With it being disposable there is no risk from infection or contamination either,” says Romano.

Spit Guard Pro comes with full safety instructions on how to use it and KIT Design advises all user to contact the British Transport Police about training to use it as it is running the national training programme in its application.

KIT Design, which is based in Sheffield, has been manufacturing its spit guard for over five years. Its unique features include protection against asphyxiation, a quick release system, the spit hood contains all fluids safely and hygienically for easy disposal. These features make it very different to other products on the market which often allow phlegm to go through the gauze, do not capture all emissions and or use straps to hold them in place.

Are restaurants, bars and hotels missing a branding trick by overlooking the importance of the apron that staff wear when serving customers?

LI banner

Specialist bespoke corporate clothing design and manufacturer for the leisure sector, Style Uniforms, certainly thinks so and has evidence to back it up too, as Director, Paula Romano explains.

“The apron worn by a waiter, bar staff or member of the serving team is often one of the first things seen by a customer and yet so often it is overlooked as being plain utility clothing. We believe that the apron should take centre stage as a multi-functional branded garment that emphasises the core values of the company it represents. There are so many ways in which an apron can be designed to reflect the bar, restaurant or hotel’s brand that there is no reason to settle for a boring off-the-shelf plain black look. An apron can say so much more about the place it is being worn in and presents the perfect opportunity to promote a brand,” says Paula.

Style Uniforms has been providing aprons to well-known bar and restaurant brands for over 23 years from its base in Sheffield. Over the years it has seen a definite shift by leading brands toward using the apron to make a statement about the company and how it connects with customers. Bars and restaurants that are fighting for every customer have recognised that their brand must be identified at every opportunity and have requested an apron that has synergy with clientele.

Style was recently asked by a long-standing customer to come up with a new apron that connects with its young, dynamic and socially vibrant customers.

“The concept we came up with was a combination of a stonewashed, lightweight denim shirt with a butcher’s striped apron; but we did not leave it just there. We developed the apron to incorporate customised elasticated braces so the garment was figure hugging. This meant there were no loose straps or draw strings hanging down, resulting in the staff members being able to move and work freely while attending to customers.

“The end result is a comfortable, easy fit work garment that emphasises the need to look stylish in company. We have been told that staff love it so much it could be rolled out across the national brand,” says Paula Romano.

According to the designers at Style Uniforms, the secret to a good branded apron lies in combining utility with crafted style. Special attention has to be paid to the range of simple but essential equipment that the modern operative would need to carry, including tablets, hand held radio devices, pens, note pads and blades to name but a few. The plain black apron is certainly on its way out according to Paula.

“We are seeing clients wanting so much more from their corporate clothing and aprons are right up there in importance. Apart from the visual detail which is carefully aligned to the image and focused of the brand, there are other options that can be incorporated for maximum branding effect. We have provided clients with possibilities such as drop down bibs for an instant half apron look with a modern feel, reversible and alternative styles for changing day to evening looks. The apron is possibly the first and the last thing a customer sees, which is why brands should be aiming to make sure it is has a high priority when the staff uniform image is being created,” says Paula.

Style Uniforms has been providing design and manufacturing services to clients in the leisure industry since 1993, it has customers all over the UK, and has some of the biggest brand names in the sector as clients.

The company is based at International House, Nunnery Drive on the Parkway Industrial Estate in Sheffield.

Sheffield’s bespoke corporate clothing design and manufacturer, Style Uniforms, has appointed Cathy Gleaden as its new Sales Accounts Manager.

Cathy Gleaden web

Cathy (43) from Rotherham has been appointed following Style Uniforms winning new contracts with a national hospitality brand and the company’s plan to increase market share in that sector.

Cathy Worked Previously at Uniplex UK Limited where she was responsible for quality procedures as well as direct sales and marketing of on-line products. 

“Cathy brings with her a broad range of skills and experience that will meet many of our needs at Style Uniforms as we continue with our growth plans. We are busy recruiting more sales and manufacturing staff to meet current customer demand and we are looking forward to Cathy planning a significant role in overseeing those new members of the team,” said Style Uniforms Director, Damian Dugdale.