What do you do with four thousand unemployed steel workers? Answer: you retrain them for jobs in the telecommunications industry.
At least that’s the plan behind a new initiative that the AEEU, the DTI and EXi Telecoms put forward today.
The announcement is the latest initiative resulting from a partnership agreement between EXi Telecoms and the Amalgamated Engineering & Electrical Union, the UK’s largest manufacturing trade union.
EXi Telecoms, the UK headquartered telecommunications outfit that provides implementation, logistics, cable assembly and technical support to telecommunications equipment suppliers and operators, will recruit new employees to implement and maintain telecommunications equipment including 3G (third generation) mobile phone networks and high-speed internet access.
In a pilot project, the AEEU-EXi Telecoms initiative will offer retraining and full-time permanent employment to manufacturing employees who face redundancy, including those at Corus. Over the next 2-3 months EXi Telecoms will complete commercial negotiations with telecom equipment providers and will announce more details.
As a pilot scheme, Corus has agreed with the AEEU to provide buildings in which EXi Telecoms will establish job-shops, selection and training facilities at those plants affected by the company’s planned redundancies.
Corus will release employees selected for retraining by EXi Telecoms during their redundancy notice while maintaining full salary entitlements. Retraining, with both classroom and field training, will last between two and three months per employee.
The initiative will offer successful applicants new jobs nationwide, including Wales and the North East, and, following the pilot project with Corus, will also be open to employees in other sectors of manufacturing who face redundancy, including motor manufacturing.
The AEEU and EXi Telecoms have worked closely with both the UK Department of Trade and Industry and the UK Department of Education and Employment, both of which have given the initiative their full support.