Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Paul Chambers.
Jane Imrie

Former steelworkers secure jobs on multi-million pound Teesworks scheme

A group of former steelworkers have secured positions on the new Teesworks development in Redcar.

Six workers have been taken on by Hall Construction Services to remediate land as part of the multi-million pound development.

Ray Milner, Paul Chambers, John Muirhead, Richie White, Shane Laughman and Lee Dudley have all joined the firm, with Paul securing employment via the region’s £7.5m Routes to Work scheme.

Paul explained: “When I first got in touch with my Routes to Work key worker… I was out of work with arthritis in my foot, had to move out of my home and it was a hard time. Before this, I was always fit, active and in a job, so being unemployed was a massive blow that was part of a downward spiral.

“With the help of Routes to Work I was given the confidence to put myself back out there for jobs. It helped me gain training and a licence for an articulated dumper, which led to the work with Hall.

“I’ve worked here myself previously at the ore terminal, and my brothers have worked here. I live in Middlesbrough so it’s half an hour from home and I love driving my dumper – it’s perfect.”

Hall Construction employee and former steelworker Ray Milner added: “I was working for SSI five years ago as a plant operator. When the site closed due to liquidation, I got on my bike and went looking for work elsewhere.

“I ended up in Aberdeen working on a big bypass for two years and then went down to the nuclear power station Hinkley Point for two years. I did a year with Balfour Beatty and then my CV was picked out and Andy Blighe from Hall said: “Would you like to come home?”

“This is great for the area, it’s fantastic – out with the old and in with the new. With all this here, the river, all the infrastructure, we can give the area back and give people and the community some excellent opportunities for work.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen commented: “I’m absolutely blown away that former steelworkers are once again working on the former Redcar steelworks site, this is why redeveloping the site is so important and why it’s a key part of my plan for jobs.

“The closure of our steelworks was devastating, but to see these guys back home and working onsite is testament to everything we’re trying to do in the region and the grit and determination that set our workers apart.

“Teesworks is already creating local jobs for local people, in some of these cases bringing expertise back into the area and helping workers relocate to where they call home.”

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