A Hartlepool steel worker who lost his job when the SSI steelworks in Redcar collapsed has found work with an expanding steel fabrication company.
More than 2,200 workers lost their jobs when Redcar steelworks closed in October last year.
But Chris Hunter, who left SSI as a project manager, has found work at family-owned steel fabrication company Langtons, where he is the newly-appointed general manager.
Three other SSI workers, Wayne Roberts, Mick Nicol and Mike Sherwood, had already joined Langtons in November last year. Wayne and Mike are platers and Mick is a welder.
“We knew SSI was struggling, but no-one had any idea of how bad things were. We thought we’d come through it,” said Chris. “I was out of work for three or four months, but I’d decided that I wouldn’t just settle for any job, I wanted to find a position I would be happy in.”
Chris, 48, who went to school and college in Hartlepool before starting his career in the steel industry, added: “I’ve found that here at Langtons – it’s a family-owned company with a helpful and supportive culture.”
Langtons expanded late last year with the arrival of Wayne, Mick and Mike, and now Chris has been tasked with continuing the growth of the company, which has been based in Northallerton for over a century.
Chris said: “I can see plenty of opportunities for growth and hopefully I can use my experience in the industry to help take the business forward.”
Langtons offers a wide range of services, from single beams for loft conversions to complete steel frames for buildings, and also manufactures bespoke handrails, fire escapes, architectural metalwork and a full range of products for the construction industry.
It is part of the Northallerton-based FT Group, which also includes construction companies Walter Thompson Ltd and Tom Willoughby, and George Fordy Properties Ltd.
Paul Blades, managing director of Langtons, was delighted to welcome Chris to the team: “It’s a new position that we’ve created and one that we think will lead to real growth for Langtons. Chris’s wide experience in the sector will be an asset for us, and he’s responded well to the culture we have here.”
The SSI plant closure in Redcar hit hundreds of steelworkers across the region and the inductry was given a further blow when Tata announced plans to sell uts UK operations, including in Hartlepool.