Agencies swing into action to help axed Alcan workers

AXED Alcan workers will have the chance to meet potential employers at a jobs fair next month.

And extra employment support services will also be available in three sessions in Lynemouth and Longhirst, beginning today.

Workers at Lynemouth’s Rio Tinto Alcan smelter were last week given the dreaded news that the plant will close, with the majority of staff set to lose their jobs at the end of May.

A response group led by Northumberland County Council and consisting of a range of agencies immediately swung into action to prepare employment support packages for those affected, as well as offer specialist advice.

As part of those efforts Alcan bosses have invited a range of businesses, of all sizes and sectors, to the site on April 3 to take part in a jobs fair.

Car manufacturing giant Nissan has already confirmed attendance and it is hoped that more potential employers will take up the offer to meet skilled workers in operations, leadership, administration, engineering, finance and other disciplines.

Rio Tinto Alcan Human Resources Director Caroline Kennedy said: “We have a vast range of skills and experience here and I am sure that North East employers will want to capitalise on the availability of those assets. Our workforce can hold their heads up high and compete with the best when it comes to securing new employment.

“Companies in the North East who attend our jobs fair will be rewarded by meeting highly skilled, loyal people, who have the passion and commitment that makes for the dedicated, high-performance workforce that we have enjoyed at Lynemouth.”

The company’s Corporate Affairs Director John McCabe said the response group continues to meet regularly and workers have already been invited to attend help sessions, such as workshops on self-employment and starting a business, while others have shown interest in moving abroad to work at other Rio Tinto Alcan sites.

“We are looking at opportunities for our people, principally in Australia and Canada, but there has also been some interest elsewhere, for example one guy is interested in moving to Cameroon,” he said.

“There is an opportunity there and expressions of interest will be taken up. Wherever there are opportunities around the group if our people have got an interest we will do all we can to help facilitate their transfer.”

Elsewhere, a Community Jobs and Advice Fair is taking place at Lynemouth Resource Centre in Bridge Road today and on Thursday, March 29.

Workers will be able to access advice about employment, finance, careers, debt and benefits.

Agencies attending include Northumberland Employability and Work Service, Jobcentre Plus, NextStep, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Credit Union, LMR Recruitment, Northumberland County Council and Northumberland Business Services, among others. The sessions will each run from 1pm to 4pm.

Jobcentre Plus will hold another event on Tuesday at Longhirst Hall near Morpeth for professional and executive jobseekers.

It will bring together speakers from recruitment agencies, training providers and self-employment organisations to allow people who have recently been made redundant, or those leaving further education, to find out about the opportunities available.

Morpeth Jobcentre Manager Debbie Draper said: “We have seen a rise in managers and executives coming onto our books, many as a result of redundancy. This event is a great way to provide a range of information and support to help them get back into work quickly.

“It is tailored for those looking for professional roles and is free to attend so I hope it attracts a lot of interest.”

Doors open at 9.30am, with presentations beginning at 10am. Visitors will then be able to meet representatives from the organisations until the close at 12.30pm.

Employers wishing to attend the Rio Tinto Alcan Jobs Fair in April can email or call 01670 393447.