Skills Minister Nick Boles has met the first former SSI apprentice to secure work with the support of Taskforce funding during a visit to Tees Valley.
Adam Ward, of Ingleby Barwick, a fourth year Apprentice electrician, who is due to complete his training in July, now is employed by the Wilton Centre.
The 19-year-old – pictured (above) with Mr Boles and Taskforce chair Amanda Skelton – has been taken on by Fasset FM Services Ltd, which manages the 75-acre business and science park near Redcar.
Adam’s new employment is benefitting from the £1.7m fund that has been created to encourage employers to take on one or more of the 50 ex-SSI Apprentices.
Employers will be given the full salary and additional training costs to cover the remainder of the Apprenticeship.
“The apprentices and workers I met in Redcar have shown great strength after a very difficult period,” said Mr Boles.
“I am determined to ensure the Government continues to do everything it can to provide them with the right support. With the local Taskforce, we have set up funding for affected workers and apprentices to retrain and find new jobs.”
Adam said: “I was really worried about the future and that years of hard work were going to go to waste after the steelworks closed as I was nearing the completion of my apprenticeship.
“I can hardly believe that I have managed to find a job at another company so quickly. I am extremely grateful to the Wilton Centre for taking me on and for the support I am getting from the Taskforce.”
Wilton Centre Site Director Steve Duffield said: “Adam had demonstrated commitment and hard work and we were pleased to offer him the opportunity to complete his apprenticeship and prepare him for long term skilled employment.
“He is an extremely capable young person with great potential and we are delighted to be able to provide him with some high quality support to finish his training programme that will be enhanced by the broad range of experience that working at the Centre can provide. It is a very positive conclusion to an unfortunate situation.”
All six Year 1 SSI Apprentices are back in full-time training, with the Middlesbrough-based technical training provider TTE, and employers are being sought to employ them with salaries covered by the fund.
Year 3 & 4 Apprentices currently are being matched with companies which have applied to take them on – several companies have been approved for the funding and these placements will start shortly again managed and assessed by TTE.
Amanda Skelton, chair of the SSI Taskforce and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: “A skilled apprentice is a long-term asset for a company and we are confident that in the coming weeks more former SSI apprentices will be found employment with local businesses.”
The Wilton Centre provides office, laboratory and pilot plant accommodation.
The spacious complex, which includes a restaurant, gym and meeting rooms, is home to 60 companies including a number of prestigious multi-nationals.
Companies are being urged to send in applications in as soon as possible so that all the apprentices can be found a place. Information and forms can be found at on the Tees Valley Unlimited website www.teesvalleyunlimited.gov.uk