On Wednesday 17 February 2016, Prince Charles visited the Redcar and Cleveland Leisure and Community Heart facility, where he met members of the SSI Task Force, as well as staff, apprentices and businesses affected by the closure of the SSI Blast Furnace. The SSI Task Force was set up in October 2015 to support Teesside workers affected by the closure.
Chair of the SSI Task Force and chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Council, Amanda Skelton, said:
“His Royal Highness has shown his great affection for the area over recent years and clearly wants to demonstrate his support for our local communities affected by the SSI crisis. I am pleased that The Prince will also be able to meet some of our local businesses who are helping to diversify our economy and create jobs.”
On Thursday 18 February, Lord Heseltine visited Middlesbrough College to host a discussion on Skills and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Lord Heseltine previously visited Teesside before the end of 2015 and said:
“I’m here to help – my specific task is centred on anything that can be done to encourage new investment, particularly from overseas. I am very impressed by the range of energy and talent that is already engaged in the regeneration of Teesside.”
“The new combined authority, the local enterprise partnership, the chamber of commerce and the several task forces that the Government has set up are already at work. If I can help facilitate that work, then I will do my best.”
The ECITB has supported the contractors on this plant for 25 years, with quality products and services to ensure that the operation and maintenance of this plant was carried out safely by competent employees.
Among the initiatives supported by the ECITB last year was a careers event in Manchester. The ECITB arranged transport for ex-SSI staff for the event at the Imperial War Museum at Salford Quays to speak to companies, including Sellafield Ltd, Doosan Babcock, and other companies looking to recruit staff.
The ECITB North East team worked with local providers to advise them about which ECITB training products and services could be used to provide these workers with new or refresher skills to facilitate a transfer into new sectors such as clean energy.
Both Redcar College and Middlesbrough College have delivered CCNSG Safety courses to several hundred employees and the Supervisor Programmes are also being delivered to large a number of employees.
Don Atkinson, regional account manager for the ECITB said:
“The economy of the Tees Valley has been transformed over the past 50 years. It has changed from an economy based on mining, steel making and shipbuilding to one with strong process and chemical industries, advanced manufacturing and subsea engineering. Whenever a sector shuts, Teesside seeks to reinvent itself, which usually involves retraining. We are at another crossroads following on from this closure, but I am hopeful that together with the government, local colleges and other support infrastructure, we will be able to support people and find a way through.”