Thamesteel task force in jobs plea to local businesses

Steel worker at Thamesteel in Sheerness
Image caption Thamesteel employed 400 people on the Isle of Sheppey and went into administration on 25 January

Kent businesses are being sent an open letter asking if they have any positions to offer steel workers who recently lost their jobs in Sheerness.

Thamesteel, which employed 400 people, went into administration last month.

A task force set up to deal with the aftermath of the closure vowed to do as much as possible to aid workers.

It particularly wants local employers to take on apprentices and students who lost their jobs so they can complete their qualifications.

Mid Kent College has taken on a number of the apprentices as a temporary measure.

'Massive challenge'

In the letter from Kevin Lynes, chairman of the task force, businesses are asked to consider the steel workers if they are looking to take on employees.

"This loss of employment is a massive challenge to the people affected and to their families - and to the wider community on the Isle of Sheppey," he says.

Mr Lynes says among the workers are eight final year apprentices with electrical and engineering skills, who would be available to work three days a week, and seven Higher National Certificate engineering students, who have already completed an advanced apprenticeship, and are available for work four days a week.

The task force, convened by Kent County Council, held its first meeting last week and agreed to set up a job club and "help desk" to aid the redundant workers.

Administrators for Thamesteel are hoping to find a buyer to take over the site.

Mazars said earlier this month that it had received more than 20 "expressions of interest".

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