A gas engineer is turning in his tools to fulfil a long-held dream of becoming a tattooist, thanks to support from his former bosses.
Steve Collins, 39, is such a fan of the art that he is slowly covering his body in colourful images – and now he is about to learn the skill for himself thanks to the Newcastle-based eaga Trust.
The trust seeks to promote employment, engagement and ownership for one-time employees of the former national energy-efficiency firm eaga plc and is using some of its funds to help ex-workers retrain or set up their own businesses.
It has now handed Collins £1,000 to complete the series of training courses, which will enable him to turn his passion into a career.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember,” said Collins, who has several tattoos, including daughter Aleisha’s name on his right arm amid an elaborate ink depiction of Alice in Wonderland.
His passion has inspired the Yorkshire-based family too, with 16-year-old Aleisha currently studying art and design with the aim of also becoming a tattooist.
The grant to Collins was made through the eaga Trust’s skill-builder fund, which was set up to enhance members’ training, skills and education with a view to helping improve their employment prospects.
Anyone who worked for eaga at any time prior to its sale to Carillion in 2011 can register to join the trust and possibly qualify for help retrain or start their own business.
Trust chief executive Ashley Dean said: “The skill-builder programme was introduced to help former employees, many of whom had been made redundant, develop the skills that might help fulfil their dreams and ambitions and we’re delighted to have been able to help Steve.
“The founding belief of the eaga Trust is that when employees feel engaged at work and own a part of their businesses, they contribute more and this will ultimately lead to a more successful and sustainable business.
“We’ve helped nearly 1,000 members through the skill-builder grant as well over 100 members take control of their own future through setting up their own businesses – and we hope to help many more.”
Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for trust membership and access to £1000 available under the skill-builder fund, to get help starting their own business or use the other employment support initiatives, should register their membership on the eaga Trust website www.eagatrust.com , where they will be asked to provide details of their past employment at the company.