Our Employee Stories


As the UK’s largest industrial refrigeration and heating contractor, Star Refrigeration offers a fantastic career path for engineers, trainees and apprentices. There are opportunities to join the team at all levels nationwide, and professional growth for all is an important aspect of employment at Star. In terms of career progression, few companies can rival Star for the amount of managers which have worked their way up to the top. 25% of the management team come from its apprenticeship scheme or have progressed from a refrigeration technician trainee. Additionally, many members of the senior team have been working within the company for 20+ years, proving that loyalty is a by-product of career progression and growth opportunities. But don’t take our word for it, take a look at a few of our favourite success stories, they are a great example of how varied a career with Star Refrigeration can be!

"Career highlights - The people I’ve worked with and the people whom I have learnt from. And of course the friends I’ve made at Star."

Gary Cleary, Head of Projects

Gary Cleary has been with Star for 16 years. Starting off as an apprentice, Gary worked his way up through the company in various Production roles, and is now facing very different challenges as one of the Star Refrigeration Project Management Team.

"I have received practical, hands-on training and theoretical training at a college. The practical aspect of it involved shadowing the most experienced refrigeration engineers in the company to whom I will always be grateful for their continuous support and encouragement."

Paul Newton, Service Supervisor

After breaking his ankle during the first week of his training in the army, Paul Newton joined Star Refrigeration’s Operations Group as an industrial refrigeration apprentice engineer.  His story illustrates the way careers are sometimes forged through unexpected circumstances. Paul’s first career choice was not an apprenticeship, but turned out to be the right one!.  Paul is now a Service Supervisor for Star Refrigeration’s Derby branch.

"My role as a consultant engineer has allowed me to travel the world…Since joining Star Technical Solutions I have had the privilege of working in Barbados, Mauritius, Kenya and the USA."

Pat Stacey, Consultant Engineer STS

Pat Stacey has spent his working career in industrial refrigeration, joining Star Refrigeration in 1984. Starting as an apprentice, Pat went onto win the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ Award from Basford Hall College.

"I enjoy the sense of pride at being a part of a great engineering team."

Gary McVittie, Technical Manager

Gary McVittie has worked for Star for 16 years, starting off as an apprentice, then moving into Design before progressing to his current role of Technical Manager.

"I have been working for Star since 2007 and I have most enjoyed working for a company that is fully supportive of your development, both as an individual and also in developing specialist skills to be applied within the Industry. I have enjoyed working as part of a team and consider myself lucky to be surrounded by kind, supportive people."

Chris Druce, Service Manager

Chris Druce is Star Refrigeration’s Oxford branch Service Manager. He shares his journey from apprentice to engineer since joining Star nine years ago. Starting off as an apprentice, Chris worked his way up through the company at Oxford branch as an engineer and has since moved to the Service Manager role.

"If I had known how diverse and bespoke the refrigeration systems were, I would have joined the industry earlier."

Bruce Smeaton, Senior Consultant at STS

After graduating from Glasgow University, Bruce worked initially with heat exchangers, fans and compressors. After this, he moved to work for Star within in design department and in 2014 moved over to STS where he has progressed further to Senior Consultant.

"Having experience in a number of different roles has been invaluable. It has obviously benefited me because I am working my way up the career ladder and gaining new skills, as well as becoming more confident in my refrigeration expertise."

James Ward, Operations Director

James Ward is Star Refrigeration’s Operations Director, his daily job includes a variety of tasks; leading the branch network within the business. James started his career at Star as a trainee and worked his way up to his current position giving him a vast understanding and knowledge of the business and the industry

"I really enjoyed the practical, hands on aspect of the apprenticeship and I gained lots of onsite experience from seasoned engineers who were happy to share their knowledge and offer encouragement."

Dean Thompson, Service Manager

Dean Thomson started his apprenticeship as an industrial refrigeration engineer at 16 after completing his GCSEs at secondary school. He now serves as a Service Manager for Star Refrigeration Operations Group in Derby.