There’s no substitute for experience

Bence are one of Europe’s leading specialist vehicle manufacturers, creating mobile spaces for a range of sectors. Our history as a specialist coachbuilder dates back to the early 1900s, with our roots firmly planted in Yate, just north of Bristol. Focused on build quality and in-house expertise we’ve seen significant growth in size and reputation in recent years, with Bence processes continuing to exceed industry standards.

A growing history

WH Bence Ltd has enjoyed rapid growth since its foundation in 1982.

1982

When three of the region’s specialist vehicle companies went into receivership, putting James Brown out of work, he decided to launch his own company. Using an old coach painting shop, a bank loan, six coachbuilders and two painters, WH Bence Ltd was born.

1983

The Bence site includes three build bays and a paint bay. A new wooden shed becomes the stores, with a Portakabin for offices. Expansion is rapid. More of the Longwell Green site becomes available, so we move our paintshop and add more building bays.

1987

Space is again at a premium so James purchases a site close by at Armstrong Way. It’s a family affair, with his brother building the new factory on the site which opened on 4 July 1988. It’s a remarkable day as the new workshop seemed absolutely enormous, which of course it is, being three times the size of our original unit.

2004

Bence build a new paint preparation and spray shop facility on the Armstrong Way site. This includes a low bake oven with the latest paint extraction system, high tech air-powered wall mounted gantries for our sprayers to move easily across the vehicles, and a preparation bay with the latest dust extraction equipment.

2016

Bence employs a team of around 60 full-time staff.  With contracts rolling in from all sectors, this family company’s future is going from strength to strength.

Left to Right: Oliver Brown – Sales Director

Sue Brown – Company Secretary

James Brown – Managing Director

Edward Brown – Production Director.

 

Our people

  • Name
    Leah Davis
    Role
    Office Administrator

    Leah joined WH Bence in March 2016.  After leaving school Leah commenced her career in an accounting practice specialising in business restructuring and insolvency.  Leah spent 12 years working in this industry including 4 years working in Western Australia.  Since returning from Australia Leah has moved away from her accounting practice background and is enjoying the variety this brings to her career.

    In her spare time Leah is currently renovating a vintage caravan and is hoping to pick up some tips and useful information from the production staff at Bence!

  • Name
    Hannah Stallard
    Role
    Service & Transport Administrator

    Hannah joined WH Bence in May 2016. After leaving college, Hannah started her career in the hospitality business, providing administrative support for the hotel reception. Following this position, Hannah then briefly worked for a family friend undertaking customer service related admin until starting her career with a local coffee company. She then spent the last 6 years as a New Business Administrator.

    Hannah enjoys taking on new challenges and is looking forward to learning more about the coach building industry.

    In Hannah’s spare time, she enjoys horse riding and spending time with friends and family.

  • Name
    Marc Andernach
    Role
    Designer

    Marc has built upon his passion for design professionally since he was a teenager. After receiving his German University Diplom in Industrial & Transportation Design he added a Master of Arts in Transportation Design. Parallel to his Master studies, Marc started to work successfully as a Freelance Designer with various clients in the Design-Research and Automotive-Design industry.

    Following this he was hired in 2012 by Jaguar Land Rover to work as a Strategic- / Interior Designer on their upcoming vehicle designs and so he moved to the UK. Another three years later Marc decided to move his life and family to Bristol and to expand his design skills and experience into new adjacent industries. Since 2016 he is visiting the University of the West of England (UWE) regularly as an Associated Lecturer for Product Design and Visual Communications.

    Marc joined WH Bence in November 2017 and based on his professional design expertise, he provides the Design Engineering team with the ideation of early design concepts and the overall visual representation of the brand in form of interior designs, component designs and color & trim.

  • Name
    Blake White
    Role
    Design Assistant

    Blake has always had an interest in design and engineering from an early age. He studied art and resistant materials when at school and upon leaving school, studied graphic design at college. He then completed a 7 year apprentice as a motorcycle technician and in this time was awarded apprentice of the year in the South West in the engineering and transport division due to his portfolio. Wanting to combine his two interests of engineering and design, found computer aided design was a good route take and broaden his skills and challenge himself.

    Blake studied CAD at city of Bristol college whilst working part time during this time at a motorcycle dealership. He then gained a full time job at a company designing electrical light switches and units etc for big companies such as Claridges and The Shard in London, all the while studying to gain a 3D design qualification. It was after this he saw the job advert for WH Bence and felt it perfectly suited he felt excited work with Bence on the projects they have and combining all his interests.

     

  • Name
    Denise Taljaard
    Role
    PA to the Directors

    Denise joined WH Bence in November 2017, she Matriculated and received a N6 Diploma in Management Assistance in South Africa.  After immigrating to the UK, she has developed her career mostly within the corporate industry, more recently assisting with business development.

    She is now assisting our board of Directors in their day-to-day running of the business, including support on providing complete and timely tender responses.

    As a keen VW T25 owner and camper, Denise has had some exposure to the world of vehicle transformations and is looking forward to learning more about the industry.

  • Name
    Steve Jones
    Role
    Operations Manager

    Steve joined the WH Bence family recently in 2017 and brings a set of skills developed over a varied career, predominantly from within production and manufacturing sectors.
    As an innovative Manager with 25+years’ experience, working within industries both singular cell and high volume manufacturing, Steve gives drive and delivers our focus on process and continuous improvement strategies. With the goal of always promoting individual and team excellence, and performance, he ensures that all at WH Bence deliver a service and an end product above and beyond our customer/clients expectations.
    Steve is also our resident “ Go Too Golf Guru “ as a holder of a single figure Hcp, he can often be tempted to give lessons at the extraordinary value for money cost of a cold beverage.

  • Name
    Sheralyn Tanner
    Role
    Purchase Ledger Clerk

    Sheralyn joined W H Bence in September 2014.  After leaving college, Sheralyn secured an Accounting Technician position with a local accountants where she gained the AAT qualification. For the last 5 years, Sheralyn worked for South Gloucestershire Council and held the position of Business Information Officer at a Secure Children’s Home in Emersons Green.

    Sheralyn recently completed  an Open University Course and gained the qualification Certificate in Business Studies.

    In Sheralyn’s spare time she helps to keep her dads accounts in order, as he is a local carpenter.

  • Name
    Brad Thomas
    Role
    Stores Manager

    Brad was a Gastro Chef, working in pubs and restaurants in the local area before he joined WH Bence in 2012 as a storeman.  He was then promoted to Stores Manager in early 2013

    Brad enjoys the challenge of sourcing rare parts for the build process of the specialist vehicles that WH Bence produce, and is always on hand to help customers source spares for their vehicles.

     

     

  • Name
    Edward Brown
    Role
    Production Director

    With Bence in his blood, Edward could from an early age be found at the company, either having a go at fabrication or spraying vehicles in our paint shop.  In 2007 Edward officially joined Bence part time in the design team whilst attending University, helping with the production of manuals and the design stages on the vehicles.

    Moving on from the degree in Quantity Surveying, Edward started in the post of Assistant Production Manager, supervising the workshop and overseeing the production of vehicles.  Recently, following promotion to Production Director, Edward has been instrumental in the programming of IFM systems on the Bence range of Type B Fire Appliances.

  • Name
    Jason Perkins
    Role
    Head of Design Engineering

    Jason joined the company after having spent over eight years in the leisure vehicle business. He’s highly skilled in 2D and 3D CAD, CADCAM and CNC programming and won the City and Guilds Medal for Excellence for 3D CAD design in 2005. He began his career as an apprentice model/pattern maker in 1988, working on various aircraft and military projects. He later moved into the vacuum forming business, creating forming for various aircraft and automotive companies and sparking his interest in CNC machining. Jason’s next move was to Britain’s largest caravan and motorhome Company as a design engineer.

    When not designing Jason is an avid cook and enjoys growing his own crops!

  • Name
    James Brown
    Role
    Managing Director

    In 1982 James was an expert coachbuilder working for one of the South West’s leading specialist vehicle companies. When the company went into receivership, putting James out of work, he decided to launch his own company. Using the 6000sq ft coach painting shop of the former Longwell Green Coachworks, a loan from Barclays Bank, six coachbuilders and two painters, James went into business and WH Bence was born.

    Since then, James has grown the company into one of Europe’s leading specialist vehicle manufacturers, with its own fabrication and maintenance sites.  WH Bence prides itself on being a family-run company, with James’ wife Sue, and sons Oliver and Edward taking on key roles in the organisation.

  • Name
    Mark Watts
    Role
    Purchasing Manager

    Mark joined us in November 2001 as a Stores Assistant.  His dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed, and within a year Mark moved up the ladder into the Stores Manager role.

    Mark quickly developed a reputation for running a tight ship ensuring all materials were available when they were needed.

    After 11 years as Stores Manager, Mark moved up to his current position as Purchasing Manager.  Into this role has brought with him his dedicated and diligent attitude helping us to improve our procurement procedures. With a quick smile and quicker wit, Mark is always at hand to make sure that the procurement team work together efficiently to provide us with an ever improving integral service.

  • Name
    Jessica Brown
    Role
    Finance Manager

    Jess joined WH Bence in August 2012 after completing the AAT qualification in Accounting.

    Leaving school with a career in Early Years in mind, Jess completed all the relevant qualifications to do just that. However, whilst working as a nanny (and despite never particularly liking Maths in school) Jess picked up a part time job working for her Father’s company as a bookkeeper. What was initially intended as a temporary stand-in role became permanent and the AAT course followed.

    With a new found interest and qualifications in Accounting, Jess started working in the office at Bence and now performs a variety of roles in the Finance Dept.

  • Name
    Sue Brown
    Role
    Company Secretary

    Having started my career as a Pharmacist it was quite a dramatic change to move over to the world of vehicle production!  I came to Bence to be part of my own business and to work alongside my family. I re-trained in Finance and accounting and I am currently in charge of the purse strings (much to everyone’s annoyance!) as the Company Secretary.  I enjoy being a key part of business working alongside my family to look at new ways to improve the business we love.

    The change over the last 18 months in the company’s carbon footprint with a reduction in waste and recycling of materials has really made me feel we are working hard to do our bit. We are looking to the future of the business and investing in the latest technology to provide us green energy for the business.

  • Name
    Oliver Brown
    Role
    Sales Director

    W H Bence was founded the year I was born so I think this business has always been in my blood. I love the excitement of the ever changing work, from the design of the new version of the mini fire appliance to creating a mobile hospitality space.

    I enjoyed an adventurous early career working as a sailing instructor at both the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes and ICC in Salcombe, Devon. Having completed my Degree at Loughborough University I moved over to run the Events Department for W H Bence.  I became Sales Director five years ago, and we have had a great few years with the introduction of the Front Line Appliance to our product range.  I look forward to a great future!

Job openings

Bence have built their reputation on designing and manufacturing specialist vehicles and trailers to the very highest standards. To do this, we employ the most skilled workforces in the coachbuilding industry.

Interested? Drop us an email at info@whbence.co.uk or call us at +44 1454 310 909

  • Electrician

    Due to increasing workload, we are looking for an Electrician to join our established team.  This is a full time post with the opportunity to work overtime. The successful applicant will preferably hold C&G 2391 and/or 17th Edition and capable of working on the 240 volt electrical systems on a wide variety of specialist vehicles and trailers.  However, we will also consider applications from those who are part-qualified.

    W H Bence has been in business for over 30 years as specialist coachbuilders.  Contracts include the manufacture and conversion of vehicles for the emergency services, command & control vehicles, hospitality trailers, racing trailers and mobile medical units.  Bence also provides full after sales back-up servicing throughout the UK and Ireland.

    This role is based at the Bence purpose built factory in Yate, Bristol.

    Rate of pay circa £13 to £13.50 per hour dependent on experience.

    For further information on the type of vehicles you can expect to work on, please visit our website www.whbence.co.uk

    To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to leah@whbence.co.uk

     

    STRICTLY NO AGENCIES PLEASE

     

     

  • ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP

    W H Bence has been in business for over 30 years as specialist coachbuilders.  Contracts include the manufacture and conversion of vehicles for the emergency services, command & control vehicles, hospitality trailers, racing trailers and mobile medical units.  Bence also provides full after sales back-up servicing throughout the UK and Ireland.

    We are currently looking for an apprentice to join our team of electricians.  This role is based at the Bence purpose built factory in Yate, Bristol.

    An apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to enter the industry allowing you to learn while you earn.  You will work alongside employees with considerable experience in the industry and attend college on a day release or block release basis, working towards a nationally recognised qualification.

    In order to apply for this position you must have already achieved, or be expected to achieve, a minimum of 5 GCSE’s at grades A* to C (or the equivalent).

    To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to leah@whbence.co.uk

    NO AGENCIES PLEASE

  • ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT TO THE DESIGN TEAM

    Due to expansion, specialist coachbuilder, WH Bence, is looking to recruit an assistant to support our busy design team in either a full time or part time capacity.

    We are looking for a hardworking and enthusiastic individual to prepare detailed manuals and wiring diagrams for each of our bespoke vehicles.  The successful candidate will also provide general administration support to the design team, which may include filing, creating document libraries and collating supporting documentation for vehicle accreditations.

    The successful candidate will have experience of the Microsoft office package (in particular Word and Excel), excellent written communication skills and attention to detail.  Our wiring diagrams are created using AutoCad, therefore, experience of this software is advantageous.  However, we are willing to provide training to the right candidate.

    Bence are experts in the design and build of specialist vehicles and trailers.  From a display vehicle to a command & control unit, a motorsport workshop to a fully integrated endoscopy operating theatre, we create the highest quality mobile spaces to meet every need.  Please have a look at our website www.whbence.co.uk for further information on the specialist nature of WH Bence vehicles.

    Full time salary circa £17,500 to £19,000 per annum, dependent upon qualifications and experience.

    To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to leah@whbence.co.uk

    NO AGENCIES PLEASE

  • MOBILE VEHICLE SERVICE ENGINEER

    Are you a trained mechanic looking for a new challenge?  This is a varied and interesting role that would suit someone with a mechanical background, an eye for detail and general maintenance skills.

    Due to expansion, specialist coachbuilder WH Bence requires a skilled vehicle service engineer to join the team.  The successful candidate will work at our services premises in Yate, near Bristol, but will also be required to work on our specialist vehicle contracts throughout the UK and Ireland.

    The successful candidate will join the current team to provide after-sales support and fulfil long term contracts for preventative maintenance, for which training will be provided.  After training you will be expected to be able to problem solve whilst on a client’s site with telephone support from the Bence Service Manager.

    Bence have built and now maintain a fleet of specialised emergency service and medical vehicles numbering in excess of 250. The successful applicant will be working on these vehicles and preferably have a heavy goods vehicle service background. A sound knowledge of servicing and maintaining trailers & vehicles is required.  Experience in auto vehicle electrics and hydraulics will be advantageous though not essential.

    A full driving licence is required, and a C + E licence would be advantageous.

    This remuneration for this position is £27,000 to £31,000 per annum, dependent on qualifications and experience.  A service van and company mobile will also be provided as Bence service engineers share a stand by call out on rota and often have the opportunity to work overtime.

    Please have a look at our website www.whbence.co.uk for further information on the specialist nature of WH Bence vehicles.

    To apply, please send a CV and covering letter to leah@whbence.co.uk

    NO AGENCIES PLEASE