A WOMAN who was made redundant shortly after outsourcing giant Carillion took over the Warm Front business eaga has started her own business as a plumber, with help from the charitable wing of her former employer.
Amanda Potts, a time-served engineer, spent 18 months working for eaga and six months with Carillion before being made redundant last year.
She has now received almost £5,000 in grants and loans from The eaga Trust to retrain and set up her plumbing and gas services business, Pink Spanners.
Ms Potts, who is based in Walker, said: “The help which The eaga Trust gave me was invaluable.
“I really felt there was a gap in the market for a female-run service in what is essentially a male dominated industry and so far the feedback I’ve received has been great, particularly from female customers.”
The eaga Trust was formed to promote employee ownership and engagement and is using some of its funds to help former employees retrain for other careers or to set up their own businesses.
Around 7,500 people worked for eaga plc between the start of 2000 and April last year when was sold to outsourcing business Carillion.
They are all entitled to register as members of The eaga Trust and apply for help. So far, around half have come forward.
The Trust has a skill-builder fund, which was set up to improve people’s training, skills and education, and around £1,000 is available to help each registered member.
There is also a business support programme for members to apply for business start-up loans and also to help people access the expert support and advice they may need to get their idea off the ground.
Trust chief executive Ashley Dean said: “People like Amanda are exactly who The eaga Trust seeks to help.
“She is one of many who have been able to set up in business or develop their skills thanks to the trust and we wish her every success for the future.”
People who worked for Newcastle-based eaga, which employed people around the UK, can register to become members of the trust via its website at www.eagatrust.com.
They will be asked to provide details about their employment history with the company.