THE Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen visited a family-run manufacturer to praise its "dedication" to the region's up and coming workforce.

Mr Houchen visited F Jones Cleveland at its 65,000 sq ft factor in Middlesbrough, where he met company directors Ian Jones, Simon Jones and Craig Fyall.

Established in 1982 with just two employees, F Jones Cleveland, is now considered to be one of the largest importers and fabricators of natural stone and quartz work surfaces in the country.

The firm also supplies manufacturing, template and installation services across the UK.

At his visit to the Teesside factory, Mr Houchen praised the firm for its "dedication to encouraging" young people from the North-East to see the site.

Mr Houchen said: "F Jones Cleveland is one of Tees Valley’s vital small medium-sized enterprises with the expertise and reputation that has allowed it to go on to national success.

"But it’s more than that – it’s a family-owned company which, through its almost four decades of trading, has kept an ethos of doing the best for its employees, providing a pathway for good-quality careers."

Young people are invited to see the operations of the factory, to help them understand the industry,

Mr Houchen said: “Our discussions, and by signing up to a careers website, it has shown the owners are keen to go even further in training up the next generation of quality manufacturers.

"I’m looking forward to hearing even more of their good work for our apprentices and its further growth.”

The firm also signed up to - an site which was set up by the Tees Valley Combined Authority in May, last year.

Ian Jones, a director at F Jones Cleveland, said: “We were delighted to meet the Mayor and take him on a tour of our factory, so he could see first-hand the hard work we’re doing here.

“We’ve been running successful training courses for more than a decade and the majority of the team we employ today consists of those we’ve helped."

Mr Jones said the firm planned to expand, with the suggestion that it could be in a position to recruit additional people.

He said: "With our future expansion plans, we’d love to engage and recruit even more people who can benefit from our training.

“We are excited to see how we can work even more closely with the Mayor, Tees Valley Combined Authority and other surrounding organisations to really help the Tees Valley.”