Tees Valley firm Francis Brown is one of many local companies already taking advantage of the SSI Task Force Fund available for former SSI employees and those affected in the supply chain.
Francis Brown – a local, family-run engineering and fabrication company based in Stockton – is also one of the founders of Teesside Engineering Network (TEN) which looks to support the Teesside engineering network and promotes local procurement opportunities.
Increasing demand persuaded managing director, Jamie Brown, to increase his workforce and capitalise on the SSI Task Force Jobs and Skills Fund.
He recruited three former steelworkers, Roy Lambert, Alan Rowlands and Brian Scaife who had previously worked in the high level engineering and structural engineering departments at SSI, with a combined experience of over 45 years.
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 three years.
Jamie said: “I found out about the funding available from my close links with Tees Valley Unlimited.
“It was at a time where I was looking to grow the business to meet the needs of our customers and the funding that was available was excellent, it has been a very simple process and one that I would recommend to anyone.”
Former SSI worker Roy added: “We are all very grateful the opportunities became available. The SSI closure was a massive shock to us and we are delighted we have been able to find something in the area.”
Chair of the SSI Task Force, Amanda Skelton, said: “So far we have seen nearly 30 companies supported by £2m of Task Force funding, creating and safeguarding over 200 jobs, and attracting £2.5m of private sector investment.
“I hope that other companies will be encouraged to come forward and take advantage of this opportunity.”
The SSI Task Force Jobs and Skills Fund is worth £16.5m and over 70 new jobs have been created through this fund. Links to all the SSI Task Force funds, including eligibility and how to apply, can be found at www.teesvalleyunlimited.gov.uk