A STEEL firm has taken on 15 trainees after a rise in orders.

British Steel says the new starters will bolster operations at its special profiles plant in Skinningrove, east Cleveland.

The move comes after the business secured a deal to supply crane rails for Shanghai’s Yangshan deep-water quay, which will see steel rolled at its Skinningrove base for the Chinese port.

It also follows a near £2m investment in what the business describes as de-scaling equipment, designed to improve the surface quality of products.

Peter Gate, British Steel’s special profiles managing director, said: “We’re delighted to welcome our new trainees as we continue building the next generation of Teesside steelworkers.

“We’ve had an increase in orders, so it’s fantastic to be able to recruit more people to help us meet this demand.”

Mr Gate also praised the impact of the business’ decision to spend £2m on its de-scaling equipment, revealing forklift mast maker Hyster-Yale Group has awarded British Steel a certificate of merit for its services.

He added: “The market place is highly competitive but we’re committed to improving the quality of our products. Since the de-scaling system was commissioned, we’ve already received excellent feedback about the improved surface quality of products.

British Steel employs more than 300 people at Skinningrove where it makes goods including rails for overhead gantry and floor-mounted cranes, and components for earthmoving equipment.

The business was founded out of Tata Steel’s loss-making Long Products division, following a £1 deal between owner Greybull Capital and the Indian operator.