TWO former engineering apprentices have returned to their former workplace to set up a joint base for their sister companies.

4B Fabrications, which started in 2012, initially to support 4B Engineering, relocated to Pennywell Industrial Estate, Sunderland, when it outgrew its base in Washington, Wearside.

Now, 4B Engineering has taken on the other three units in the same block to expand.

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Gary King runs 4B Fabrications and 4B Engineering’s managing director, Steve Forbister, is a director of the fabrications business.

Mr King said: “Both Steve and I served time for Alto Engineering, which was based in these units.

“We’ve now taken the whole block of units and brought them back to life, which is great news for the area, and makes sound business sense for us.”

4B Fabrications works with subsea, automotive and food companies, and is looking to expand its workforce in line with the growth of its customer base.

4B Engineering, which employs 12 people, has been in business for nine years and supplies services for the food manufacturing sector and automotive industry.

Mr King added: “The reason we set up the fabrication business was because the engineering side was subcontracting fabrication work.

“Steve approached me and asked if I was interested in setting up a fabrication business and keeping the name 4B, so it’s a known name for customers.

“It’s worked well, and we’re now growing our own customer base as well.”

4B Fabrications was supported with its expansion and relocation by Sunderland City Council.

Councillor Harry Trueman, the council’s deputy leader, added: “The success of the two 4Bs and the way they have worked together to bring more work into the city’s economy should be applauded.”