A further relaxation of the rules has now made it easier for those hit by the SSI closure to access funded retraining at Stockton Riverside College and NETA.

Former SSI workers and those directly affected by the collapse of the Redcar steelworks previously had to be referred by the National Careers Service (NCS) or Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to access training opportunities funded by the Government as a direct response to the steel giant’s closure.

Now, as the first wave of workers are benefitting from training and qualifications available, restrictions have been lifted to allow those hard hit to contact the college directly.

Offering a package of funded industry-accredited qualifications, training and licences, Stockton Riverside College’s Director of Business Development, Michelle Elliott, said: “We are delighted to be able to help and support these people. We would urge those who have any questions or enquiries to contact our dedicated hotline.”

More than 2000 people were left out of work following the closure of the steel plant last month with many more affected in the supply chain, among them SSI boilermaker, Simon Douglas.

Made redundant after two and a half years working in the power station and describing it as the best job he’s ever had, he said: “I was devastated when it closed, not just for me but for all the people I worked with and the whole area.”

Faced with sudden unemployment, the 31-year-old from New Marske turned to NETA, referred by the NCS, where was able to access a Welder Coding course and testing.

“I am a lot more fortunate than some of the others as I have a trade,” he said. “But this offered me an opportunity to upskill that I wouldn’t otherwise have had the money to pay for. Being a coded welder will now give me more options when looking for work.”

Stockton Riverside College and NETA are offering a wide range of fully funded qualifications, training and licences, to those made redundant following the SSI closure and those directly affected in the supply chain. For details visit www.stockton.ac.uk/ssi-retraining/ call the College’s dedicated hotline on 01642 865 568 or email: ssisupport@stockton.ac.uk
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