A haulage training company has turned over £1m in its first year.
And Dan Wilcox, 54, said he was indebted to Hartlepool College of Further Education for its support after setting up Cleveland LGV Training.
Dan faced an uncertain future after the demise of the steelworks at Redcar where he had worked for five years.
But then, he and stepson Matt Switzer went into long-distance lorry driving and enjoyed great success.
The Five Lamps organisation – one of the bodies controlling the grant money which was going from SSI towards start-up businesses – acccepted them for £10,000.
After financing two HGVs, nine former SSI workers were brought on board to learn a new trade followed by eight young trainee drivers all trained in partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Just 12 months on, the firm now has 16 trucks, a 19-strong workforce and has turned over £1m. Dan said: “It has been a phenomenal growth, and one which we couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams when the steelworks closed down.
“We have created job opportunities for lads who were also thrown on the scrapheap by SSI, and to see them earning money with a smile on their faces gives me an enormous amount of satisfaction.
“We’re also indebted to Hartlepool College for their assistance, they backed us when other colleges slammed the door in our face. They looked at our business plan, they were receptive to what we wanted to do, and it’s fantastic to be involved with them.
College vice principal Andy Steel said it was “one of the most heart-warming” success stories that the college has been involved for years.