Meet the plumber Guy! SSI closure leads to new plumbing and heating business for Guy Corner.
THREE years after losing his job as a plumber following the closure of SSI Guy Connor has become an employer himself, with help from the SSI Task Force.
Guy, 33, of Guisborough, became an apprentice plumber aged 16 at ALCO Plumbing Services which had a major contract with SSI but closed along with the Redcar steelworks in 2015.
After receiving support from the SSI Task Force, Guy became self-employed and built a highly successful business called G A Corner Plumbing & Heating
Now he is even able to take on an apprentice, 17-year-old Martin McDonagh, to help cope with demand for his services from businesses and members of the public.
“It has been a lot of hard work, but worth it," said Guy. “It was a terrible time when I found out I was going to lose my job. I had worked there for 14 years, the only place I had ever worked. I was just about to get married to Megan and we had a whole trip to Mexico planned. We already had a daughter and when we got back from Mexico we found there was another baby the way, so it was really stressful.
“My brother was already self-employed as a bathroom installer and he encouraged me to give it a go. When I got back from Mexico, it was straight to it. SSI Task Force gave me some financial support to get started and also useful advice on how to run a business."
Guy explained that he had a number of good contacts due to his time working at ALCO but it still took time to build up his business.
“ALCO didn't close at the same time as SSI," he explained. “In fact we had work decommissioning the site. They also had other contracts at schools and hospitals and so on, so it was a shock when it closed. It's worked out well for me, but it was a hard time and I still think about my workmates and all those who lost work."
As well as a booming business and becoming an employer, Guy and Megan are celebrating more good news. “We're about to have our third baby girl," beamed Guy," so I have plenty more years of hard work ahead!"
Amanda Skelton, Chair of SSI Task Force, said: “Congratulations to Guy for building up such a strong business. It is also fantastic news that he has now become an employer himself. There is still funding available for others who want to take the brave step of starting a business."
Contact Guy on Facebook (type in G A Corner Plumbing & Heating), email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07739147389.
Former SSI workers, supply chain workers and their families considering starting a business can find out more about the SSI Task Force fund at www.ssitaskforce.com
Funding is also available for anyone in the Tees Valley to start out in business. Contact the North East Enterprise Agency Ltd on 0191 5166093.