As you’ll have seen from the news headlines, British Steel is at a crisis point, with thousands of jobs at risk after the government refused to hand the second-largest steelmaker a £30m load to say afloat. This is not only a major hit to the steel manufacturing industry within the UK, but a potentially devastating result for their workers if the company isn’t bought out.
We sat down with Theo James’ Director, Mark Bracknall, who gave his advice on the situation.
My initial reaction was extreme disappointment. I wasn’t shocked to hear the news, due to the issues UK steel has had over the last few years. With more and more steel being produced in China, I knew that there would be hard times ahead. However, from a personal point of view, this is hard to see. I am Sheffield born and bred, and the steel industry has served my family for decades. The majority of them have worked within the industry at one point or another. I am hopeful the UK will find a solution, but changes need to be made to ensure the industry can be profitable and can avoid the need for bail outs.
Just like when 1,700 jobs went from Teesside after SSI shut down, there will initially be a lot of unrest and fear amongst the staff. However, the skills they’ve developed are all transferable. I personally placed a large number of Engineers from SSI into a variety of Manufacturing sectors, such as Automotive, Food, Packaging or other heavy industry firms. My first piece of advice to people would be to make sure their online profiles and CVs are updated, then they can start talking to people in the sector. There is still a real shortage of skilled workers, despite a reduction of new jobs being created in certain areas. The rise of automation and technology will stabilise manufacturing in the UK and create jobs. It’s essential they keep an open mind to new roles and try to embrace the change.
It is absolutely vital that retraining is prioritised. As discussed, technology and automation are going to revolutionise the UK manufacturing market and certain sills will be critical. These are all skills that can be taught and help those out of work find new employment. The Steel Industry’s loss is the rest of the manufacturing sectors gain.
Looking for the next step in your Manufacturing or Engineering career? Contact Theo James to find available roles in these sectors across the UK.