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Ex-Steelman brings his skills to new venture

Chris Hart

Using the skills he learnt in his years as a Steelman, Chris Hart of Cwmbran has launched a high-end metal fabrication business.

Chris joined Tata Steel, then British Steel, as an apprentice at Llanwern Steelworks  in 1999, working  there until 2016. He then moved into self-employment, starting his own business designing and producing stylish metalwork products.

Custom Fabrication Services  (CFS) which last year became a Limited Company and  moved into larger premises at Llantarnam, received support from his former employer in the form of a loan from Tata Steel subsidiary, UKSE. “This was very helpful and meant I could invest in the business and buy equipment I needed to get started,” he said.

Martin Palmer of UKSE, said: “We were delighted to help a long-serving Tata Steel employee with financial support to create jobs. It also means that the craft skills Chris practised in heavy industry are now at the service of the community at large and are not being lost. We wish him every success.”

Progress so far has been very promising and the plan now is to expand, taking on more commercial work and to build the team to take the business forward. The business plan predicts a team of six within three years.

“I want to take on people to enable me to step back a bit and look at the wider aspects of the business,” said Chris.

“We have expanded the team adding skilled craftspeople and personnel who share the same values and commitment to make us the first choice supplier of metalwork,” he added.

Further capital investment is planned to broaden the scope of the work that the company can offer.

CFS already has an impressive portfolio of work on its website, including balustrades, decorative gates and fencing, ornate staircases and bespoke designed furniture.

Above all, service and quality are paramount. “We use our experience of metal product manufacturing, and combine it with our cutting-edge equipment, to produce quality metal products, parts and components to exacting specifications, on time and within budget.”

He added that his time at Llanwern had given him the perfect background to set up his own venture. “I had a four year apprenticeship and eventually worked my way up to Team Leader. The skills and high standards of workmanship that we were taught have enabled me to launch CFS with confidence,” he added.

“I am very grateful to Tata Steel for the help and support they have given me in getting the business off the ground.”