Brickwork Services was also backed by UK Steel Enterprise in 2013 when a £50,000 investment formed p
Jamie Hardesty

Teesside training firm gets £50k UK Steel Enterprise boost

Teesside construction training firm Pro-active Safety has accessed the finance it needs to expand, landing a a £50,000 unsecured loan from UK Steel Enterprise.

Owner Steve Willis launched the business to provide consultancy services and training opportunities in bricklaying, scaffolding and general construction, after his initial venture Brickwork Services was faced with a shortage of skilled workers.

The loan from UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business support subsidiary, is helping Pro-active Safety to grow its workforce and intake of apprentices.

An initial 90 traineeships at the company’s Hartlepool centre led to 60 paid apprenticeships then full-time jobs with Brickwork Services. Currently, a further 60 young people are in training there in general construction.

Now, a newly opened Peterlee training centre has welcomed its first batch of trainees and expects to cater for 200 apprentices during 2016, as well as a further 90 general operative trainees.

Brickwork Services was also backed by UK Steel Enterprise in 2013 when a £50,000 investment formed part of a £100,000 expansion project and created around 40 jobs.

Steve said: “UK Steel Enterprise helped us originally when we were finding it difficult to access finance despite a growing order book at Brickwork Services.

“Without their help at a crucial time we could not have grown so successfully or established Pro-active Safety and we are grateful for this new investment. Currently we employ around 140 bricklayers on contract across the North and are working on more than 17 sites.”

Sarah Thorpe of UK Steel Enterprise said: “Steve has decades of invaluable experience in the construction industry and our confidence in his companies has been more than justified.

“Brickwork Services works with a growing number of blue-chip companies and Pro-active Safety is helping to solve a serious skills shortage and provide opportunities for young people in our steel areas to gain recognised qualifications and a career for life.”

Steve added: “It was frustrating to find ourselves turning away lucrative contracts because of the shortage of skilled bricklayers. So we decided to do something about it ourselves and Pro-active Safety works in partnership with training organisations such as NCT Training and, recently, the Profound Group at Peterlee.

“It’s been hard work but is paying dividends for everyone. We have companies providing invaluable work-based placements for our trainees which improves our success rate, links to schools to offer vocational training and we have also created more than 25 full time posts for tutors.”

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