Never ones to let restricted access get in the way of customer delivery, the Sheffield team at market leading national lifting solutions company, Ainscough Crane Hire, have been at their resourceful best to deliver a long-term lift contract at the development site of a new biomass-fired power plant in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Access to the site is severely restricted by a single-track bridge which crosses the River Don. The bottleneck and weight restrictions on the bridge means the required 400 tonne cranes are too heavy to cross. Ainscough’s 1,000 tonne Liebherr [LTM 11000] crane is lighter when set up for road travel and can then be built up in situ.

Stripped of its auxiliary components, the crane was just able to make the journey over the bridge with approximately 100mm of clearance at either side. The crane is then re-assembled on the live site side of the bridge to complete its tasks.

Ainscough has been appointed to provide contract lifts by the joint venture partnership of Interserve, the international support services and construction group, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund. It won the £150 million construction contract for the new power plant which is being delivered by the Brite Partnership.

Based in Templeborough, Rotherham, the power plant will be fuelled with locally sourced waste wood and have a capacity of 45 MW. The power output generated from the plant will be equivalent to the energy consumption of 70,000 households and result in an annual carbon dioxide reduction of 360 tonnes.

Damian Napper, depot manager at Ainscough’s Sheffield depot said: “Work in the energy sector requires specific skills and capabilities and we are well versed in the requirements needed to deliver for our customers.

“This is an exceptionally challenging site and, like many, has a challenging construction programme to deliver against. We have been on site since October 2015; positioning the site office cabins was our very first job here.

“We have assisted in almost every aspect of the programme so far from piling and groundworks to the steel frame which we are currently working on. We have started to lift the main boiler components. It’s a fascinating project to be engaged with and one which keeps challenging us in different ways.”

The new facility is expected to be fully operational in the second quarter of 2017. The Biomass fuel used in the facility will be sourced on a long-term contract from Stobart Biomass Group.


Having a military background can often be viewed by employers as a negative. But that is not the case for Ainscough Crane Hire which actively recruits from this pool of talent. On the eve of National Armed Forces Day (Saturday 25th June) we talk to Amanda Hesketh, resourcing and retention manager, to find out why former servicemen and women are such a prized asset for the business.

“One of the many issues facing service personnel when they leave the forces is what they are going to do next.” Explains Amanda.

“We currently have around 230 employees who have served in the forces in a whole range of roles. We find it to be a good source of new staff and we recruit from all parts of the forces into a wide variety of roles within the company. As a rule, the recruits are well motivated and have a strong work ethic. They understand that they are part of a team, understand communication and are decisive. Those attributes are really invaluable to us and that background is a superb asset to the business.

“We work with the British Forces Resettlement Service to find candidates to fulfil a whole; range of roles and we are never disappointed with the quality of candidate they provide.”

One former serviceman now working with Ainscough is Pat Kiernan 45 from Oldham, Greater Manchester. Pat spent 26 years in the forces latterly as part of the Royal Logistics Corps and is now the transport support and development manager based in the Leyland depot. “My military career took me around the world and I wouldn’t change any of it.” Explains Pat.

“I met Ainscough at a recruitment fair where they were exhibiting. They stood out as they showed interest in me and who I was, the way these things usually go is that you leave your CV and you never hear anything back. With Ainscough I did and two weeks later I’d been interviewed and had been offered a role. It was quite amazing.

“It was the break I needed to change my career and I’ve had no regrets in the two years I’ve been here.

“Many former forces personnel make the mistake of assuming they know the commercial world and know what roles are available to them. I would never have thought crane hire would be a place for me to establish myself but everything I did in the logistics corps is directly transferable to Ainscough.

“Yes, I have been on a steep learning curve but listening, asking questions and working together as a tight unit are as important here as they are in the forces. I work with a superb team here and I only wish I could have made the move a few years earlier. It’s fantastic to be part of the Ainscough family.”

Another colleague, Gary Dixon started as a crane operator with Ainscough and has progressed to become Regional QHSE adviser for the South East. Originally from Middlesbrough, Gary, 45, moved to Kent to join the Royal Engineers. His successful army career saw him become a crane operator and become the commanding officers driver until he left in 1995.

“Unable to get a job within the crane industry I became a HGV driver for a local delivery firm, although I know that this was only going to be a short term job. Due to the fact that I wanted to get back into the crane industry, then back in August 1999 the chance to join Ainscough arose and I grabbed it with both hands and have never looked back.

“The transition for me was simple as I was operating semi-autonomously from the forces toward the end of my time. I’d had the ‘army chip’ removed as they say. Working here has been brilliant for me as there’s more responsibility: there isn’t always somebody else to make your decisions for you as there is in the army.

“The best tribute I can pay to the company is that I’ve encouraged my nephew to apply for the role of apprentice fitter position here at the Maidstone depot. I can’t think there’s a better company for him to learn a trade than Ainscough, it’ll set him up for life.”

Armed Forces Day provides a focal point in the year for the general public to celebrate and recognise the services our armed forces provide to the country. The centrepiece of the celebrations is a national event being held in Cleethorpes, North Lincolnshire which includes military displays and a fly by from the Red Arrows.

Armed Forces Day not only celebrates current personnel but also recognises the sacrifices made by their families and that of former service men and women. See for further information.

To view all of our current vacancies please see For more information or to apply now, please click the link next to the opportunity you’d like to pursue.


Market leading national lifting company, Ainscough Crane Hire, is continuing to provide support to the Highways England smart-motorway upgrade of the M60 / M62 in Greater Manchester.

An overnight closure on July 2 provides a window of opportunity for Ainscough to lift the latest of eight overhead gantries into place. The 71-tonne structure will be positioned close to Eccles in Salford.

The first gantries, which carry message and variable speed limit signs, were installed across the M62, between junction 19 at Heywood and junction 20 at Oldham, on Thursday 5 May.

The gantries – which span both the eastbound and westbound carriageways of the motorway – are up to 59 metres wide, weigh up to 78 tonnes and will require a special 500 tonne crane to help install them as well as full overnight motorway closures.

The smart motorway scheme, between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62, will use the latest technology to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving by using variable speed limits. The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane to increase capacity between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62.

Andrew Winter, general manager of Ainscough’s Heavy Cranes Division, said: “All of our work is completed against a deadline but when that deadline is connected to the re-opening of part of the major road network, we have to ensure the lift goes ahead without any hitches.

“A successful lift for us in this case is one where the general public will barely notice our role but see the results of the planning and efficient delivery we pride ourselves upon.”

Works to deliver the £201 million smart motorway upgrade are expected to be complete in the autumn of 2017.


Market leading lifting solutions company, Ainscough Crane Hire was on hand to help with the assembly of a Eurofighter Typhoon Horse Guards Parade.

The twin-engine Eurofighter weighs 11,000 kg and has a wingspan of 11 m. It was lifted into position by Liebherr LTM 1055.

The full sized replica Eurofighter has been installed to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and as part of a bid to ensure that significance of the force is not lost on today’s generation.

The advanced combat aircraft, which costs £126m, was among a host of planes, including a First World War Sopwith Snipe and a Second World War Spitfire Mk XVI that were lowered into position by Ainscough Crane Hire.

The RAF celebrates 100 years protecting the nation in 2018 and the display has been arranged by the RAF Museum to raise awareness of the contribution that the force has made to the country. It is part of a wider fundraising campaign by the museum to refurbish its North London site.

Depot manager at Ainscough’s West London depot Colin Day said: “Working with our partners and the museum, has been an interesting project for the Ainscough team.”


The James Jack Aberdeen team at market leading national lifting solutions company Ainscough Crane Hire, have played a crucial role in the upgrading and major reinforcement of the electricity transmission network serving the north of Scotland.

Working for regional distribution company, SSE and a port services company, the Ainscough team, led by contract lift manager Richard Gallicker, have lifted six electricity transformers destined for the existing sub-station at Blackhillock.

The upgrade is needed to enable proposed wind, wave and tidal generation projects to connect to the electricity network via a new subsea cable between Caithness and Moray.

Two deliveries, one week apart, of three transformers were made to the quayside at the town of Buckie on the Moray Firth, north east Scotland. Using a 500 tonne LTM 1500-8.1 crane the transformers were loaded onto trailers to make the final miles of their journey, which started in Portugal, by road.

Arriving aboard the Elisum, the first two transformers, each weighing 80 tonnes, were set down on the dock side with the third in the consignment lifted directly onto the trailer. This was done to allow the most efficient turn-around of the vessel which had to sail on the next high tide.

“We were set up and ready to begin the lifts by around 8pm. Explains Richard.

“Buckie Harbour is relatively small and space is constrained meaning we had to be as efficient and safe as possible. We had the added pressure of having to ensure the ship made its departure time with the tide.

“Our team of six worked incredibly well to deliver for the customer. Once the lift crew had finished, the night shift ensured everything was in place and ready to go the following morning.

“It was a great job for us which we left safely and with happy customers.”


Market leading national lifting company, Ainscough Crane Hire, is inviting applications for the 2016 intake of its plant maintenance apprenticeship in a bid to foster new talent and address the sector’s skills gap.

Delivered in partnership with Myerscough College in Preston and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the Ainscough apprenticeship scheme has a total of seven places available spread across the Ainscough depot network.

The seven successful applicants will complete a four-year NVQ qualification in Plant Maintenance which includes time based at the college’s new £4.4 million Engineering Centre home to its Construction Plant Academy. Ainscough has a mobile crane permanently at the college to enhance the apprentice’s learning experience.

Ainscough owns and operates the largest privately owned vehicle fleet in the UK including its unparalleled fleet of mobile cranes and large range of support vehicles.

“Our apprentices are highly valued. We take each person’s development seriously, ensuring that we provide a challenging and varied training environment. Explains Amanda Hesketh, Ainscough’s resources and retention manager.

“Places on our apprenticeship schemes are always over-subscribed but we want the most talented and best motivated staff to join us so, along with the standard entry requirements, we look for candidates who have a natural aptitude for fixing anything mechanical, and just as importantly, have a flexible and a ‘can do’ attitude. The apprentice scheme is an important source of fresh talent, we want candidates who can grow with the business.” Amanda added.

CITB Apprenticeship Officer, Rachel Moon, commented: “There are so many opportunities for work for crane mechanics in Lancashire and across the whole country, so it’s a great time to start an apprenticeship. Over the years we’ve attracted some really top-notch applicants, resulting in us getting the right people in the right job for them, so I’m looking forward to working with this year’s intake.

“Young people who want to find out more about the job before applying should check out the industry’s careers website, Go Construct.”

Apprentices will learn, in a hands-on way, every aspect of the maintenance of plant equipment including: hydraulics, electrical systems, transmission systems, engines and metal fabrication.

Ainscough’s apprentices are being recruited for roles at the following depots: Beckton, East London; Birmingham; Dundee; Ellesmere Port, Stanlow Oil Refinery; Maidstone, Kent; Preston and Stockton in County Durham.

The vast majority of Ainscough’s previous apprentices go on to have successful and long careers within the company.

The closing date for applications is June 15, 2016. Applicants must have GCSE grade C or above in both maths and English. All Ainscough apprentices are paid while completing their qualifications.

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June | 2016 | Ainscough Group