SSI Task Force Funding has helped more former Tees Valley steel apprentices back into employment.
Cameron Owen and Lewis Mitchell were about to start the first year of their apprenticeships with SSI when the company closed. With help from the SSI Task Force and Middlesbrough-based technical training provider TTE, they have now found new placements where they will go on to complete their training.
A £1.7m Task Force Fund has been created to encourage employers to take on one or more of the 51 ex-SSI apprentices. TTE is coordinating securing placements for the ex-SSI apprentices. The employers are given financial support throughout the period of the young people’s training.
Lewis, 16, of Redcar, is now employed by Chemoxy International Ltd, one of Europe’s largest independent chemical manufacturers, as a Science Industry Maintenance Technician.
Cameron, 17, who lives in Ormesby, has been taken on by Lotte Chemical UK, a subsidiary of KP Chemical Corporation, as a Science Manufacturing Technician.
Both Lewis and Cameron were supported by the Task Force throughout the application process. It also will cover their salaries during their training.
As part of their three-year apprenticeships, Cameron and Lewis will gain practical and theoretical knowledge at TTE, as well as receiving on-the-job training with their sponsor companies.
Lewis said: “When the steelworks closed I was very worried about my future. I am extremely grateful for the amount of support I have received from TTE and the Task Force and I can’t thank Chemoxy enough for taking me on.
“I now feel positive about my future and hope to build a successful career at Chemoxy.”
Andrew Purvis, training and development manager at Chemoxy, said: “Lewis is showing lots of enthusiasm and is proving himself to be a hard-working, diligent individual with a great future ahead of him.”
Cameron said: “I am very thankful to Lotte for taking me on as an apprentice; it will allow me to have practical on-site training while also gaining qualifications.
“It was a very worrying time for all those involved following the closure of the steel works. I am very pleased I’ve been able to find something with great career prospects so quickly thanks to the Task Force funding.”
Jackie Petford, HR Manager at Lotte, stated: “We are delighted to have been able to help Cameron continue with his career path. Cameron has great enthusiasm to learn and build new skills, we are sure he has a bright future ahead of him.”
TTE has so far placed 25 of the 51 former SSI apprentices on their books. All of the remaining first year apprentices are back in full-time training with the technical training group while it works to secure new placements for them.
Amanda Skelton, Task Force Chair and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said: “I’m pleased that our local businesses have been so supportive and it’s key that more individuals and companies come forward and take advantage of the funds that the SSI Task Force has to offer.”
Steve Grant, Managing Director at TTE, said: “The skills gained at SSI puts the former apprentices in good stead for future employment. Cameron and Lewis will be a real asset to their new employers and have promising careers ahead of them.
“TTE is still working very closely with the Task Force to help its remaining SSI apprentices complete their training and find new jobs.”
Details about all the SSI Funds available for individuals and businesses can be found on the Tees Valley Unlimited website at www.teesvalleyunlimited.gov.uk.
Photo: l-r, Lotte Chemical UK apprentice Cameron Owen, Chris Adnett, of TTE, and Chemoxy International Ltd apprentice Lewis Mitchell