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
    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
    Steve Morris
    Role
    Deputy Transport Manager

    Steve joined the Company in April 2019 and has spent many years in Transport Management. He holds a Certificate of Professional Competence (Road Haulage) International and an LGV Class 1 driving licence. Transport has been a passion for many years.
    He started his career as an Engineering Apprentice with WD & HO Wills in Bristol, moved into IT and then into Transport Management.
    Working with Marks & Spencer, Next, CEVA Logistics and Tesco, he brings a wide and diverse experience to his role as Deputy Transport Manager.
    He is currently building a Campervan, from scratch, which gives him a good insight into the world of vehicle transformation.

  • Name
    Fraser McNaught
    Role
    Service Manager

    Fraser Joined Bence in November 2018 as the Service Manager after completing 24 years with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

    During his time in the Armed Forces Fraser was responsible for managing and maintaining the serviceability of a broad range of equipment, from Armoured Tanks to Portable Field Kitchens.

    Thankfully the environment he works in now is a lot different, but the diversity of equipment at Bence is just as varied. As well as holding formal qualifications in Engineering as a member of SOE, he also holds Chartered Management status and holds various Project Management qualifications that come in very handy in managing a very busy Service Department.

    When not working, he enjoys coaching rugby and is involved in a military charity that promotes adult development through sport.

  • Name
    Jamie Arndell
    Role
    Transport and Service Administrator

    Jamie joined Bence in September 2018 as a member of the Service Department.

    She has worked in Transport for the past few years and gained a Certificate of Professional Competence (Road Haulage) whilst working in the Transport Industry.

    Jamie assists the service manager in the day to day running of the busy Service & Transport department.

  • 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
    Chairman

    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
    Managing 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 then became Sales Director we having 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

  • 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

  • IT SUPPORT/FRONT END SOFTWARE DEVELOPER

    About us
    Bence Command is the ICT arm of W H Bence Coachworks Limited.  We are dedicated to, not only providing excellent customer centric products, service and solutions but also developing the latest state of the art ICT systems to assist first responders, medical and other clients save lives, improve efficiency and save money.

    Our customer centric support services rely on our ability to link securely into most if not all of our globally distributed vehicles, enabling fast efficient return to service, sometimes before the client is even aware of any issue.

    We aim to employ the most talented, inventive and dedicated individuals to augment our team and achieve our high standards.

    Responsibilities and duties
    We are looking for a dedicated IT professional to augment our team. Your work will be principally developing multiple new, and maintaining current on premises and cloud-based web applications with a database back end. You will, using our web-based support tools, or in the field, support clients to resolve issues with their networked IT systems, hardware and software configuration and provide training.

    Skills and experience required

    • Extensive HTML & CSS knowledge
    • Java, JavaScript & jQuery, React
    • Web framework (Bootstrap, Vaadin)
    • User interface / user interaction design
    • Responsive design
    • Source control management, e.g. Git
    • Bright and enthusiastic, willing to learn new skills
    • Minimum of 18 months relevant experience
    • Willing to work flexibly, long hours and travel nationally and internationally to meet the business needs

    Advantageous skills and experience

    • Knowledge of PHP and MySQL
    • Modbus, IFM, CanBus.
    • Network administration

    For further information on the work we carry out please visit our websites at www.bencecommand.co.uk and www.whbence.co.uk

    Salary negotiable dependent on qualifications and experience.

    To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to leah@whbence.co.uk
    No agencies please.

  • Purchase Ledger Clerk

    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.

    A vacancy exists for a full time Purchase Ledger Clerk at W H Bence in Yate, Bristol.

    The ideal applicant will already have a background and experience in purchase ledger.  The job includes typing up and matching orders, delivery notes and invoices and inputting the information onto Sage 200.  You will be required to confidently address supplier queries by email and phone and assist in preparing supplier payments.  Other duties will include reconciling monthly statements, chasing missing paperwork and resolving internal queries to enable the monthly accounts to be prepared in a timely manner.

    Good typing, numeracy skills and experience of Microsoft Excel are essential for this role and an AAT qualification and experience of Sage 200 would be advantageous.

    As the Purchase Ledger Clerk you will work within a small team and will share general office and reception duties.  You will be expected to assist in other administration tasks to meet the business needs, in particular covering periods of leave.

    The full-time hours for this role are 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and the salary on offer is circa £20,000 – £22,000 per annum, dependent upon qualifications and experience.

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

    NO AGENCIES PLEASE