Fund Helps Former Steel Employees Into New Jobs

Funding from UK Steel Enterprise is helping former SSI employees gain a recognised qualification that gives them the chance of new employment in the sports and leisure sector.

A sum of £2,000 from UKSE’s Community Support Fund, awarded to Teesside Athletic Football Club, provided funding for 20 former employees to gain a Sports Coaching Qualification. Some have already found employment with one setting up his own sports-based business.

The qualification is part of a three-year programme of sessions being run by Teesside Athletic FC for former SSI workers to help them back into work, gain valuable qualifications and improve their skills and quality of life.

Started a few months ago, the sessions are now running weekly at Redcar, Middlesbrough and Stockton with around 20 former SSI-workers attending each session until they find a job or move on.

The former SSI workers help to plan the contents of the sessions themselves and they have ranged from courses, help with writing CVs, job applications and interview skills to cookery lessons,  football, work experience and healthy living.    Six have already found jobs ranging from production and engineering to sports-based roles and three have started their own businesses.

The money from UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary, comes from its Community Support Fund, that aims to improve the quality of life for people living in its steel areas and this is the second time it has supported Teesside Athletic.

Kevin Fryett of Teesside Athletic FC said: “We couldn’t have funded these 20 places on the Sports Coaching Qualification course without UK Steel Enterprise’s help. They backed us in 2010 to fund a mobile pitch for a project we ran in conjunction with Cleveland Police that helped young people qualify for a career in sport and we are very grateful for their continued help.

“Many of the former workers say that all the sessions are giving them a focus and helping in lots of ways from improving their job chances to boosting their self confidence.  Some have taken Dementia Friendly Courses, not only boosting their CVs but also leading to them doing voluntary work in the community.  A sporting memories event for older people that centred on the 1966 World Cup was a real success for everyone involved,” he added.

“Teesside Athletic FC does a great job working with local communities and making a real difference to people’s opportunities and lives,” said Sarah Thorpe of UK Steel Enterprise.  “We were only too pleased to be able to help again, particularly as this project involves former steel employees who are doing everything they can to get their working lives back on track.”

Details of UK Steel Enterprise’s support for businesses, with finance and premises and its Community Support Fund, from 01642 777 777 and www.uksteelenterprise.co.uk. Teesside Athletic FC is on 01642 470 963.

Photo: Former SSI employees qualifying for a new career in sport and leisure pictured with Sarah Thorpe (centre) of funder UK Steel Enterprise flanked by Kevin Fryett of Teesside Athletic FC (left) and Brian Rowcroft (right) of Middlesbrough F C Foundation.