Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his backing to the high levels of training being provided by Middlesbrough College for SSI workers and contractors.
He spoke after touring the college’s new £20m STEM Centre – where the majority of the training courses are taking place.
The centre replicates a real industrial environment and delivers world class training in science, technology, engineering and maths.
It features three fully-equipped industrial sections – process operations and maintenance, advanced manufacturing and logistics and warehousing.
Hundreds of SSI workers and contractors have signed up for tailor-made courses and the college has recruited three steelworkers to work in its engineering department.
Mr Corbyn said: “The college is doing a fantastic job providing skills training and certification to SSI workers, many of who have huge skills levels but they might not have the right qualifications needed for new jobs.
“The STEM Centre is a great place and the college should be complimented for its work to help people make the transition as they recover from the trauma of losing their jobs.”
Mr Corbyn was accompanied on the tour by Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd and Zoe Lewis, college principal and chief executive.
Ms Lewis said: “The STEM Centre welcomed its first student just weeks before the axe fell at SSI.
“At that stage we were unaware the centre would soon become the hub of retraining for those affected by the steelworks closure.
“The fact we’d invested £20m and created the only training centre of its kind in the country meant we were able to start providing help immediately.
“We organised a series of open events for SSI workers to find out what training they needed and based on what they told us we were able to create and start delivering a programme of tailor-made courses.”
Those courses include the key qualifications required within the process, engineering, manufacturing and supply chain industry.
The college received £1.2m from the SSI Task Force – the largest amount awarded to any training provider – to offer the specialist industrial training courses.
The courses are offered free of charge to those who can show they have been directly affected by the recent events in the steel industry.
The STEM Centre also provides apprenticeship training and development training for those already in industry who want to upskill.