Former SSI man engineers a new career path

Former SSI man engineers a new career path

A former SSI engineer has launched a new business in Sunderland with the help of the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC).

Following a 30 year career in the steel industry, Ian Baillie has taken his occupation in a whole new direction completing garden overhauls, maintenance and small domestic repairs.

After being made redundant from the Redcar SSI plant last year and consequently facing unemployment, Ian launched Maintenance Magic in February with the support of the SSI Task Force Business Advice Start Up Fund.

The SSI Task Force Business Advice Start Up Fund offers former SSI workers advice on starting their own business, plus a grant scheme that can provide start-up assistance of up to £10,000.

Ian was referred to the BIC, one of the partners delivering support on behalf of the Business Advice Start Up Fund. He was assigned business adviser Margaret Cook who helped him put his ideas on paper and create a business plan.

Ian said: “I have always been a keen gardener and enjoy being outdoors. I love the flexibility self-employment allows me and the fact I make all of my own decisions. In time I would like to add to the services I offer such as lawn care services and spraying.”

Ian was also successful in his application for the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme, a national Government initiative which aims to help those in receipt of benefits to start a new business.

He added: “Margaret was brilliant. She simplified the process and ensured my plan met the standards to apply for the NEA. A business plan is key for a business just starting out. I would recommend anyone starting a business to visit the BIC.”