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Reborn Valleys steelworks looks to train new generation of skilled workers
A Valleys steelworks is set to take on its first new apprentices for many years after marking a successful first year back in operation following its re-opening under new ownership.
Liberty Steel Tredegar, located at Tafarnaubach Industrial Estate, which makes structural hollow sections for applications such as street lighting, office furniture, agriculture and mining, was restarted by Liberty Steel with 20 workers exactly a year ago, after being mothballed by previous owners 12 months earlier.
The plant is now running three full shifts with a workforce of around 60 and is aiming to hire young people early in the New Year to train as apprentices.
Plant director David Ashton explained: “We’ve had a successful first year with healthy order books and we’re hoping to double production next year. Due to previously difficult circumstances, the plant hadn’t hired apprentices for very many years, but we now feel far more confident about the future and want to start bringing on a new generation of skilled workers.”
He disclosed that they would soon be recruiting craft apprentices, including electrical and mechanical trainees. There would be a handful of recruits at first to be followed by more as the plants continues to expand its output.
Mr Ashton said there would also be more opportunities for skilled workers at the plant, including engineers, quality technicians and managers.
The Tredegar works was formally re-opened in November 2016 by First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, in the company of Liberty House executive chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, who has since gone on to acquire several more steel and engineering plants across Britain, making Liberty one of the largest privately-owned industrial employers in the country.
Mr Gupta has previously announced Liberty’s plans to expand its mill at Newport to make liquid steel from recycled metals, using renewable energy under the company’s GREENSTEEL programme. The Newport plant already makes hot rolled coil using renewable bioliquid generators.
Liberty’s successful re-opening of the Tredegar Steelworks was welcomed by Blaenau Gwent MP, Nick Smith, who said: “The turnaround is a victory for Blaenau Gwent in the face of some tough times. The steel industry is one of the foundations we were built on. It’s important that it not only survives, but thrives. Blaenau Gwent youngsters deserve every chance to build careers and find success, so it’s good to see a company like this being able to offer opportunities for the next generation as well.”
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