Celanese: Help to find jobs for staff who had started at the firm straight from school
WHEN Celanese Acetate first announced plans to close the Spondon site more than two years ago, a learning centre was set up at the plant to help workers facing redundancy.
The centre, which was opened by Unite, aimed to give staff advice and support that could help them find work elsewhere.
With the support of Celanese's human resources department, Unite was able to offer basic IT, numeracy and literacy courses, as well as advice on writing CVs and job interview techniques.
They were also given financial advice and one-to-one sessions on their next career.
The union said that because so many of the workforce had joined Celanese straight from school, few of them had ever had to prepare a CV or face a job interview.
The centre was opened a few months after Celanese announced plans to close the site in 2010. It was before the factory got a temporary reprieve due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Among the workers who visited the learning centre back then was Andy Croxall, of Etwall, a filter tow spinner who has spent 41 years working there.
At the time, he told the Derby Telegraph: "I've spent all my working life at Celanese so to be faced with the prospect of looking for another job is daunting.
"I have a wife and a 17-year-old daughter who is due to start university next year so there is pressure.
"At my age I'm not expecting there to be much out there for me. I'll take what I can get between now and when I retire. I feel more sorry for the younger workers."
According to the Unite union, the management at the Derby site also fought for an extra £500 per worker, which they could use towards retraining.
Thanks to the learning centre, some staff achieved NVQ Level 2 qualifications and then went on to achieve Level 3, boosting their chances of getting another job.
As for the future of the Celanese site itself, some believe that it could eventually become a business park.
It will take some time for workers to decommission the huge factory and for demolition work to be complete.
But, once this is done, then the area could make a good home for individual business units.
Nearby is Derby Commercial Park, off Raynesway, which has been created by Goodman International.
The 140-acre development has the potential to create as many as 3,000 jobs once it is fully occupied.
The developer has previously confirmed it had held initial discussions about the future of the Celanese Acetate site.