Harpers Environmental, a Billingham-based waste management company, is helping three former SSI workers back into work as part of the SSI Task Force Jobs and Skills Fund, administered by Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU).
The £16.5million Fund was set up to help local firms employ former SSI workers or their spouses in full-time or part-time jobs for a minimum of three years. It subsidises the cost of employment for positions made available for at least three years with a payment of 50 per cent of the basic salary costs for each new job created in the first two years of employment up to a maximum of £11,000 per employee.
Harpers Environmental, which was established 60 years ago and also has a depot in York, has committed to taking on at least three former SSI workers and has appointed one so far. Daniel Lowery, who was employed at SSI for seven years, now works as a Vacuum Tanker Driver.
Jim McIver, Depot Manager at Harpers Environmental in Billingham, said: “We wanted to support getting people who’ve lost their jobs back into work as soon as we could. Daniel has lots of skills and experience to help him in his new job including a Class 1 LGV Category C+E Drivers qualification, which means he can drive heavy goods vehicles.”
Daniel’s new job involves collecting leachate – the liquid that drains or ‘leaches’ from a landfill – from various locations around the North East to the Billingham depot.
Mr McIver added: “Daniel currently drives a 44 tonne lorry and we also are aiming to make him familiar with, and confident to use, all the vehicles in the fleet. The two other SSI recruits will be doing the same type of job.”
Paul Booth, Chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Tees Valley, said: “This fund is based on a tried and tested methodology that has been highly successful in the past when it secured work for more than 700 people in Tees Valley.
“Daniel’s appointment demonstrates that this scheme has the potential to make a significant impact on individuals looking for alternative employment in the wake of SSI’s demise on Teesside. It also demonstrates how strategically targeted support can deliver results.”
Amanda Skelton, Chair of the SSI Task Force and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “It’s a tribute to companies like Harpers Environmental that they are willing to go that extra mile to help people get back on their feet after the closure. It’s a vital part of our drive to rebuild the economy and I would encourage more companies to come forward and take advantage of the fund.”
Harpers Environmental has a range of services across three dedicated operating divisions: industrial services, waste removal, waste disposal and HSE & support services. Today, Harpers is regarded as a leader in the field of waste management.
For more information on The SSI Task Force Jobs and Skills Fund visit: www.teesvalleyunlimited.gov.uk or call 01642 524 412.