Fresh start for flood-hit factory workers

WORKERS from the Leeds-based suspension coil spring factory ThyssenKrupp Woodhead, which was severely damaged in the Christmas floods, have been given a new start.

HR specialists Bev Ashby Associates worked with the Kirkstall Road-based site which manufactured springs for the automotive industry, to place affected workers in new roles.  

Now 70 former employees will take on new roles in other local manufacturing businesses with the remaining choosing self-employment or retirement.  

ThyssenKrupp Woodhead, on Kirkstall Road, was under 4ft of water and suffered severe damage following the Boxing Day floods in December.  It had been in operation since 1860s when the decision to close it came in April putting all 93 employees at risk.

Ms Ashby said: “The majority of the employees had worked for the business for a long time – many for more than 30 years.  For some, it was their first and only job role and they were very loyal to the organisation and they were all very disappointed at the news the factory was going to close.   

“I understand what it’s like to be in this situation. It’s not just losing your job; it’s also losing your friends and your sense of self.  So we offered emotional support as well as practical services like how to write a CV and applying for a new role.”

She added: “It was clear that the employees were at different stages in their career and lives and the support would need to cater for all of these so we also offered workshops on retirement and self-employment so that the former employees understood all the options available to them in today’s job market.”

ThyssenKrupp Woodhead managing director, Jon Sandground, said: “We were shocked and saddened by what happened to the Kirkstall Road site as a result of the Boxing Day floods.  

“So, I am absolutely thrilled that working with Bev Ashby and her team, we have been able to support all our former employees as they transition to their new lives.  

“I wish all our former employees the best for the future.”