With help from the SSI Steel Task Force and training provider TTE Technical Training Group, they have now been rescued by the water company and will complete their training.
Sam Pawlett, aged 19, from Guisborough, and Brandon Lowther, aged 20, from Middlesbrough, who are both instrumentation technicians, feared the worst when the plant closure was announced.
They had heard the rumours and their weekly pay packets were late but as Lowther said: “we didn’t think it was actually going to happen.”
Then they were all called into the meeting and told. “It was dreadful news and awful to see fully grown men in tears,” he added.
Brandon is based at the water treatment works at Broken Scar, Darlington and Sam at Northumbrian Water’s sewage treatment works at Bran Sands, Tees Dock.
Sam, a former Redcar and Cleveland Apprentice of the Year nominee, said: “It was terrible to see the plant which was normally so active turn into a ghost town as the dust settled.
“It’s great to be able to complete my apprenticeship with Northumbrian Water. I’m really enjoying it and I intend to apply for a full time job with the company if there’s an opportunity.”
Instrumentation technicians maintain and monitor equipment controlling the process including pressure, temperature, level and flow.
Tracey Greener, training contracts manager at Northumbrian Water, added: “Currently we have 25 apprentices working with us and it’s great to be able to take on Sam and Brandon as well.
“Northumbrian Water really values apprenticeships and over the last five years we’ve been able to offer work training for more than 50 with many of them going on to work for us full time.”
Amanda Skelton, task force chair and chief executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “I’m pleased that our local businesses have been so supportive and it’s key that more individuals and companies come forward and take advantage of the funds that the SSI Task Force has to offer.”