Former lagger turns floorer after receiving SSI Task Force support
AFTER 15 years as an insulation technician Brian Batey was out of work for just one, single weekend before starting a new career as a floor fitter.
He found work installing flooring at a carpet shop within days of being made redundant from a supply chain insulation company, Tees Insulation, following the closure of SSI in 2015.
Now the 49-year-old former soldier in the Royal Engineers, has set up his own company, Woven Flooring, and received support from the SSI Task Force Business Start Up Fund.
Father-of-three Brian, who fits high-end LVT floors, said: “SSI was our bread and butter at Tees Insulation but it wasn’t just work from them that went, it was from all the supply companies.
“It was sad to see the decline. We would take holidays to fit the work schedule, not when we wanted holidays. We’d take a week laid off. But then, one day, in May last year, they just said it was all over. I had gone around the country with that firm, even a job in Angola.”
After finding self-employed work quickly Brian has now gone on to receive support from the SSI Task Force Business Start Fund. The move has enabled him to set up his Woven Flooring business and to work for carpet shops across the north, from Hartlepool to Leeds. He can also be employed directly.
“The business support team really helped me to focus on my business plan and on zero in on how it will work as a business,” said Brian, from Horden, County Durham.
“It’s going really well. I fit the kind of floors you see in places like Costa Coffee and M&S and also work on very high quality flooring. If I say so myself; my floors are really quite beautiful. I spend time to get the job just right and make sure my customers are satisfied.”
Amanda Skelton, Chair of SSI Task Force, said: “I’m delighted that Brian is making such a success of his business after receiving support from the SSI Start Up Fund.”
Funding is now available to anyone in the Tees Valley starting out in business. Contact the North East Enterprise Agency Ltd on 0191 5166093 to find out if you are eligible.