A group of formerly unemployed people from Rochdale are finding their career is ticking along nicely, thanks to a new jobs scheme, which will see them fit smart meters in people's properties.
200 jobs in the pipeline over the next 12-18 months
28 people are already enrolled in the project, with a total of 200 jobs in the pipeline over the next 12-18 months with local company Greenage Utilities.
The job hunters will start their training in a special workshop at Rochdale Training Association (RTA), which has just been refurbished and kitted out with smart meters thanks to the council, RTA and Greenage themselves.
They will then shadow workers in the field, before going on to full time positions at Greenage, which works with major utility providers like N Power, EDF and United Utilities.
'This is a great opportunity for me, as I've been unemployed for 2 years': Trainee Dean Jones
Dean Jones, 26, from Castleton, who is on the scheme, said: "This is a great opportunity for me, as I've been without a job for two years now. I've also got an 18-month old son, so it's important to bring money in, and to be a good role model for him."
The jobs scheme comes hots on the heels of Greenage's move from Oldham onto Rochdale's Crown Business Park in late 2015, with Kirkholt-born managing director, Paul Quinn, looking to invest in his hometown.
1 million smart meters to be fitted by Greenage over the next 18 months
He said: "My family live in Rochdale and I grew up in Rochdale, so having our business here felt right. We've got 1 million smart meters to fit over the next 18 months and a great skills base here in Rochdale, so this jobs scheme is a fantastic project.
"Although we operate across the north of England, the people taken on through this scheme will be fitting smart meters in their home postcode area and there'll be more work for them once we've finished the rollout because the meters need maintenance and repair."
Cllr Richard Farnell, leader of the council, said: "It's fantastic to see someone who grew up in our borough and built a great business coming back to his home town, investing his money here and employing local residents. This is a great example of the council working with local organisations like Greenage and RTA to deliver real results for our residents."
Jill Nagy, Chief Executive of Rochdale Training Association, said: "Rochdale Training is proud to be working with Greenage Utilities and Rochdale Council, upskilling local people to access current jobs and a sustainable career"
Rochdale Development Agency has more information for businesses who would like to invest in Rochdale.
Rochdale Apprenticesips for more information on the apprenticeships available locally.