Case Study ArchiveHere you can find further case studies of businesses supported by the SSI Task Force.
New wine bar opens in Redcar with help from SSI Task Force Funds
A former steelworker and his long-term partner have opened up a swish new wine bar in Redcar with help from the SSI Task Force.
Gerry Morrison, 52, and Joanne Adams, 45, have set up the intimate, classy No 5 Cocktail and Wine Bar on Station Road in Redcars buoyant Northern Quarter.
The Redcar couple, whose son, Callum, 23, was also an SSI worker and lost his job at the same time, received funding from the Business Advice Start Up Fund as well as investing their own money.
The bar is a former shop that had been empty since June 2016.
Joanne explained that she was also worried about her job as a charity worker at the time of the SSI crisis in late 2015. We were waiting to see week by week if we were all going be made redundant, remembered Joanne.
It wasnt easy. And it had happened once before. I ran Joes Sandwich Shop near the steelworks for five years. Most of the trade was from the steelworks but when it closed the first time, in 2010, we lost that business too.
After the closure in 2015, Joanne became bar manager at the Rushpool Hall Hotel at Skelton and Callum started a new career as a marine engineer in the Royal Navy.
Gerry, originally from Glasgow, explained he had worked at SSI for five years before its closure and had previously worked at ICI.
Its been a really busy time, he said. Our daughter, Amber, has just had a baby and we had to really concentrate on our big opening night at the same time as we were waiting for the birth.
But we have done this kind of thing before and have good experience. Years ago we would both sometimes run Joannes sisters pubs when she was away and Joanne has a lot of experience in the industry.
This part of town is coming back to life with cafés, pubs and restaurants and its exciting to be part of it.
So far 248 new businesses have been started with help from the SSI Task Force funds, and both Gerry and Joanne were full of praise for the help they had received.
Its not just the financial backing, although that is amazing, explained Joanne. Its the help given in the business plan and administration. The team is so supportive and knowledgeable.
Amanda Skelton, Chair of the SSI Task Force, said: It is fantastic that Gerry and Joanne are launching a business and Im sure it will be a great success.
Im especially pleased that they have been able to turn an empty shop in the town centre into a vibrant new venture, which just adds to the great visitor offer in Redcar.
Links to all the SSI Task Force funds, including eligibility and how to apply, can be found at www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/taskforce
Heritage Partnership to Document Tees Valley's Industrial History
The changing nature of the Tees Valleys industrial heritage is to be documented and promoted thanks to a new partnership between Teesside University and a local museum.
The University is working with Kirkleatham Museum on the partnership entitled Landscape of Rapid Change which has been developed in response to the recent closure of the SSI (UK) steelworks at Redcar.
The project will begin with an oral history project, called Steel Stories, which will safeguard the oral memories of the steel industry and capture the reaction to the closure of the Redcar plant and the subsequent contraction of the sector.
These memories will help inform a year-long exhibition, developed by the partnership and hosted at Kirkleatham Museum, from the summer of 2017 to represent the global and local significance of the iron and steel industry.
The project is being led on behalf of the University by Professor Natasha Vall, Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, in the School of Arts & Media, and Dr Joan Heggie, Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences, Business & Law and the formerly the project manager of the British Steel Archive project.
From September, the academics will work with students, museum staff and members of the public to draft the framework for the oral history project and begin interviewing subjects.
Professor Vall said: This is a fantastic opportunity for collaboration. The University will be able to offer strong support to the museum while, at the same time, enhancing our own student learning experience with the opportunity to work on a live project.
As a member of the Heritage Consortium we have doctoral students who are doing PhDs in industrial heritage and are trained in the exact area that Kirkleatham Museum is looking for support.
Eventually, we want to be able to create a public history resource that will be available for future researchers.
Dr Heggie added: We want to hear from right across the community and try to remove the tendency to focus purely on the workers at the plant.
While it is obviously rooted in the story of the workers, there are many people who were affected by the closure who didnt necessarily work there and we want to speak to those people as well.
Its important that we do this now, while memories are still fresh.
Amanda Skelton, Chair of the SSI Task Force and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said: Steelmaking is part of our heritage and I am pleased to be working with the University to capture peoples memories so that we have a lasting record. I hope that people will get involved with this exciting project so that we can show a complete picture of our history.
Councillor Carl Quartermain, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills and Leisure said: Kirkleatham Museum is the perfect venue for the exhibition and it is great to be part of such an important project. It is very important that we forever celebrate our steel heritage here in Redcar and Cleveland and keep that proud history alive through our stories and imagery. I am pleased that people affected by the closure directly, and the wider community will have the chance to get involved in bringing our history to life.
For more information on Steel Stories contact firstname.lastname@example.org
British Steel Recruits Former SSI Employees on Teesside
British Steel has recruited eight employees who lost their jobs as a result of the SSI closure.
With the support of the SSI Task Force fund, British Steel has taken on the new employees at its Teesside Beam Mill (TBM) and Skinningrove operations.
Steve Wilson, who has been in the steel industry for 30 years, was working as a Semi-Finished Products Engineer at SSI when it closed last year with the loss of 2,200 jobs.
And the news was even more devastating for Steves family as his son, and brother, also lost their jobs.
Re-living that fateful day, Steve said: I was completely shocked to be truthful, we were told on a Friday afternoon to go home.
We knew the steelmaking industry was in turmoil but it just happened so suddenly, it came as a complete shock.
But Steve said he is delighted to be back in the steel industry, working at British Steels Teesside Beam Mill at Lackenby as an Operations Manager. Hes been joined by six other former SSI workers at TBM who are in operational roles performing slab handling and steel dressing.
He said: Ive been able to carry on from my old job. Ive been taking care of the slab supply coming in and inspecting it and rectifying any issues we have.
Its nice to have a fresh challenge and Im certainly getting there. My new colleagues have been really good too, they make you welcome and are always there to support you if you need anything.
Andrew Smith lost his job in the supply chain when SSI closed but he is another of the new recruits, now working as an Area Technical Manager at British Steels Skinningrove site.
He said, Im really enjoying working here and engaging with the team. Im monitoring the quality performance of the mill and influencing the shift team about what can be done to improve performance and efficiency.
After last years SSI closure, the Task Force was set up to help local firms create new jobs and regenerate the area. £108,000 has been awarded from the Task Force funds to British Steel so it could offer the eight permanent roles.
It was a very sad day when SSI closed and it affected everyone in the local community, said Claire Long, Operations Manager at British Steels Teesside Beam Mill. It impacted us all. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who lost their job.
Im delighted the funding has been signed off and were able to offer additional opportunities. Its great that weve been able to offer employment to people who lost their jobs.
And British Steel HR Director Paul Martin added: The steel industry on Teesside has been through a great deal in recent times so we are pleased our operations in Lackenby and Skinningrove are performing well, demonstrated by the fact we have taken on these new employees. I have no doubts they will be great assets to our business.
Peter Hobson, who represents Community union members at British Steel on Teesside, said: The closure of SSI was a major blow to this region so its great we have taken these eight employees on.
Chair of the SSI Task Force and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Amanda Skelton, said: Many former SSI workers have wanted to find new jobs in the steelmaking industry, not only because of the work, but because of the friendships and feeling of family that exist in the industry. Im incredibly pleased for Steve, Andrew and their six colleagues who have found jobs locally with British Steel. This particular fund has been used to help employers offer over 330 jobs to those affected by the closure, and money is still available to help get people back into work.
Former SSI Worker Launches Mental Health Business
Former SSI worker Neil Carter has launched his own mental health training business, NDC Mental Health First Aid, with the aim of helping people save lives.
His business, based in Redcar, runs courses to help businesses understand potential mental health problems in the workplace. It is designed to help employees identify signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide support on a first-aid basis if necessary.
Neil Carter, who had worked for SSI for 27 years said: I had originally trained as a mental health instructor six years ago but only done it on an ad-hoc basis. Being made redundant gave me an opportunity to re-evaluate my career and follow my passion which is to help people. I can honestly say if everyone knew more about how to handle someone with a mental health issue at work, it could be the key to them getting better quickly and also avert it becoming an emergency.
He has two services available one for a two-day Mental Health First Aid course and covers problems including depression, eating disorders and self-harm as well as suicidal colleagues.
There is also a short Mental Health First Aid three-hour introductory course which covers how to identify potential discrimination surrounding health problems as well as advice on how to identify them.
Neil has already won a contract to provide his service to two local manufacturers, Tata Global Beverages and Tetley Tea Bags as well as Middlesbrough College.
He was promoting his company at a recent business event organised by Tees Valley Business Club, North East England Chamber of Commerce and Redcar & Cleveland Council.
Rachel Anderson, head of policy, the Chamber said: Neil is a great Chamber member who inspires us all with his ambition to succeed and help others at the same time. The estimated cost of mental health problems runs into millions of pounds each year so using his service makes good business sense as well as safe-guarding employees. It is always great news when a former SSI worker overcomes challenges and starts the next phase of their career.
The guests at the event held at Redcar & Cleveland Heart also heard at first-hand about the MGT Power £650m Tees Renewable Energy Plant, which is due to begin commissioning in 2019. There was also an update from Sue Houston, business relationship manager for the newly-named Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East).
Business success stories were also shared from a personal chef to rock bands including Radiohead, Sarah Muir, who runs the successful Arches Cookery School when she is not on the road. The entrepreneur Lorna Jackson of the Farmers Market (Saltburn and Stockton) Saltburn Food Festival and Real Meals outlined her achievements at the meeting. She told the meeting just under £400k is earned annually at the market stalls in Saltburn alone, boosting the local economy substantially every year.
More Former SSI Workers Secure New Employment
Another three former SSI workers are back into employment thanks to help from the SSI Task Force Jobs and Skills Fund.
Damian Griffiths 41, Robert Windras 44, and Joshua Holmes, 27, lost their jobs when the Redcar steelworks closed last year but now have been taken on by Cleveland Fire Brigade Risk Management (CFBRM).
Damian will take on a new role of site protection manager at the company while Robert and Joshua are now site protection officers at CFBRM.
The Task Force fund was set up to help local firms employ former SSI workers, their spouses, supply chain workers and contractors in to full-time or part-time jobs. The scheme subsidises the cost of employment for positions made available for a minimum of two years with a payment of 50% of the basic salary costs for each new job created.
So far, over 300 jobs have been created through the SSI Task Force Jobs and Skills Fund.
Damian, who had worked at SSI for over 15 years, said: Its been really unsettling since SSI closed as I had worked there for so long and it was hard to imagine starting something new. Im so pleased that I have been able to get a new job and I am looking forward to what the future holds.
Robert, who had worked at the steelworks for a year, said: Although I had only worked at SSI for a short time, I had hoped to build a long career there. Ive been grateful for the help Ive received in finding a suitable position and I now hope to have a successful career at CFB Risk Management.
Joshua, who had five years experience at SSI, said: It was such a worrying time for everyone who lost their jobs due to the closure of the steelworks last year and I am pleased that things are starting to turn round for me. I cannot thank CFB Risk Management and the Task Force enough for all their help and support.
Amanda Skelton, chair of the SSI Task Force and chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: Almost 2000 former SSI and supply chain workers have now moved off benefit the majority are in full-time employment or training. The commitment of the Task Force to revitalising our economy remains as strong as ever and we will continue to work with local organisations to help get people back into work.
Richard Davis, Sales and Marketing Manager at CFB Risk Management, said: Damian, Robert and Joshua have proved to be fantastic additions to our team, we look forward to them continuing to build on their strengths and hope they develop successful careers at the company. Our experience with the Task Force has been nothing but positive and I would recommend it to other businesses across the Tees Valley.
Former SSI worker invests in business expansion
Cleveland LGV Training has expanded and created more new jobs for former SSI workers with over half a million pounds of investment in a new business venture.
The training company was launched by former SSI contractor, Dan Wilcox, and his son-in-law Matthew Switzer, last November with support from the SSI Task Force Businesses Advice Start Up Fund and has turned over nearly £2m in just nine months.
Following the success of Cleveland LGV Training, the duo has set up Cleveland LGV Transport working closely with Maritime transport limited.
The company intends to operate 11 wagons collecting and delivering goods across the UK for import and export.
The business has grown its workforce from two employees to 19, recruiting former SSI workers and contractors who have been trained by the parent company.
Amanda Skelton, chair of the SSI Task Force and chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: "I would like to congratulate Dan and Matthew on their growing success. They have seen a gap in the market and have had the vision and courage to pursue their dream. It is fantastic that so many former SSI workers are now benefitting from their success, both through the excellent training they deliver and the jobs they have created."
Dan Wilcox said: "Due to the success of Cleveland LGV Training weve been able to grow the business and diversify, I am committed to helping former colleagues back into employment and helping to grow the Tees Valley economy.
"The business support and funding I received from the Task Force was instrumental in the success of my business and I encourage any other ex-SSI employees with a business plan to seek help from the funding scheme."
Jobs and Skills Fund helps Keith find new job.
Keith Parry, from Middlesbrough, was a planning engineer in the power station at SSI UK. He has joined Ventilation Hygiene Specialists in Thornaby, which provides ventilation hygiene, fire safety and air flow testing services, as a Maintenance Technician.
Keith said: I am pleased that I have been able to transfer so quickly and so smoothly to a new job thanks to the support of the Task Force. I am relishing putting my 37 years experience to good use by playing a role in the growth and development of Ventilation Hygiene Specialists.
Martin Holliday, Director of Ventilation Hygiene Specialists, said: Former SSI UK employees have lots of transferable skills and are very employable. Keith has extensive knowledge and experience and a great attitude to work and already is proving to be a great asset to the company.
The SSI Task Force Jobs and Skills Fund subsidises the cost of employment for each new job created with a payment of 50% of the basic salary costs for the first two years, up to a maximum of £11,000 per employee. All new jobs have to be sustainable for a minimum period of two years.
New Business Set Up By Former SSI Contractor Employs Redundant Steel Plant Workers
A former SSI sub-contractor has launched his own business, creating jobs for redundant steel plant workers, with support from SSI Task Force funding.
Dan Wilcox, 53, from Berwick Hills, Middlesbrough, has set up Cleveland LGV Training Ltd, based at the towns Skippers Lane Industrial Estate.
Dan received financial support from The Business Advice Start Up Fund and the SSI Task Force Flexible Skills Support Fund.
Cleveland LGV Training Ltd has already secured a number of contracts for significant local companies, including delivering JCB Bomag Ride on Roller training for PD Ports. The business is now attracting interest from companies in Belgium, Holland and Sweden.
Dan, who spent four years sub-contracted at SSI as a LGV driver and driver trainer, said: Initially I was looking for work and had a few offers in the transport industry, but I felt there was an opportunity in training and I was hoping for a new challenge after having driven commercially for more than 20 years.
The skills and experience within the new company amounts to a combined 43 years in the steel and training industry for the four former SSI colleagues alone.
Dan, who is Operations and Training Director, is supported by former steel plant workers, Dave Thompson, 53, Derek Bailey, 56, Jim Glew, 53 who will all deliver various LGV training.
Dan, added: I could never in my wildest dreams, have imagined the success we currently are enjoying. We have been working seven days a week to satisfy customer requirements.
I would highly recommend that anyone in my situation, who is considering setting up their own business, seek advice from the Task Force. The support I received was second-to-none and it even continues after the funding stage, which will be useful if we encounter any challenges as we expand.
Former SSI worker forges new career
Steve Potter feared he would have to move to another part of the country in search of a new job after the Redcar blast furnace closed last October.
Steve, 47, said: After 30 years working in the steel industry I thought there was no chance of getting another job on Teesside. I had all the skills, but there was no work. My options were limited: either retrain and start all over again, or uproot my family and move to another part of the country to find a job which suited my skills.
Steve, who lives in Normanby, had worked for SSI as a specialist asset integrity inspector. Those skills proved to be just what Stockton-based company Axiom Engineering Associates was looking for.
Axiom is one of the worlds leading failure analysis, preventative maintenance and inspection companies. Its engineers work with firms in the petro-chemical, automotive, storage and pharmaceuticals industries all over the world.
Dr Rene Hoyle, who founded Axiom with fellow engineer Adam Potter in 2003, explained: We were looking for a new inspector around the time SSI was closing. Steve fitted the bill perfectly. He had the right experience and the right attitude to become part of Axiom.
With funding received through the SSI Task Force for both training and wage subsidy Axiom is organising for Steve to retrain to internationally-recognised standards through the PCN certification scheme.
Although Ive only been here a short time Ive settled in really well, he said. Its a fantastic company to work for and everyone has been extremely welcoming. This is a new beginning, I couldnt have wished for a better job and I hope Ill be working at Axiom for a very long time.