Shirley Batty and Graham Dodds

Member Article

Energy business goes from strength to strength

A NORTH East energy business formed just over two years ago has quadrupled its workforce in the past six months thanks to the support from the eaga Trust.

Boldon-based Heating and Gas Solutions was founded in 2011 by former Eaga employee Graham Dodd to install gas boilers in homes across Durham and the North East.

However, becoming an accredited installer for the Government’s Affordable Warmth and Green Deal schemes meant he not only had to diversify his services but also increase his manpower.

Now, with the help of three, fully-qualified engineers and two apprentices he is installing a full range of renewables, such as solar panels and air and ground source heat pumps to help eradicate fuel poverty in the region.

“The company really hit the ground running in terms of orders and contracts” said Graham, a 34-year-old father of one. “However, as with any start-up company, there were considerable overheads, which I had to absorb in order to grow the business.

“Thankfully, because I used to work for Eaga there was a huge amount of help available to me through the eaga Trust. The eaga Trust was set up to help those who worked for the former company between 2000 and 2011 with a particular emphasis on employment support and employee ownership.

It offers its members a range of benefits, including a £1,000 training fund to use towards work related training and Business funding, start-up loans for those planning to start their own, employee-owned businesses.

Graham successfully applied for a Business funding loan which enabled him to purchase a much needed van and he has now come ‘off the tools,’ in order to concentrate on expanding the business even further.

“The loan from the eaga Trust came at exactly the right time for me and, while I could have got a bank loan, the trust helped with interest free funding which makes a great difference,” he said.

“I owe a lot to Eaga and I’m pleased to say that one of my engineers is a former Eaga employee, too, so I’m happy to be able to give something back.”

The eaga Trust has helped create almost 100 new employee owned businesses across the UK and nearly 1000 members have used their Skill-Builder training fund to complete training and qualifications to improve their employment prospects or embark on a new career.

Shirley Batty, Ambassador at the eaga Trust, said: “We were very happy to be able to help Graham, as he is a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work, determination and skill. Our help is available to anyone who, like Graham, used to work for Eaga and who has the drive and determination to set up their own business. If they have a commercially viable business proposal then we would urge them to get in touch.”

Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for membership of the eaga Trust should register now at www.eagatrust.com.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by HFPR .

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