Rock staff get regional support

After Wednesday's announcement that Northern Rock will be making around 1,300 staff redundant over the next few months, regional businesses rallied around the bank's employees to offer potential employment solutions.

The Northern Rock Response Group announced a package of help to assist redundant Rock workers. The Response Group is made up of One NorthEast, Job Centre Plus, Newcastle and Sunderland City Councils, Business Link North East, the Learning and Skills Council, CBI North East and the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Every worker affected by redundancy will be able to access a website containing hundreds of vacancies in the North East. Staff will also be given one-to-one counselling, analysing their skills to match them to current vacancies as well as help to retrain or be given guidance on how to start up their own business.

Alan Clarke, One NorthEast Chief Executive and Chairman of the Northern Rock Response Group, said: "The priority of the response group is to give every employee affected by redundancy the best possible chance to find suitable new work in the North East. "I am confident that the skills Northern Rock workers have will mean that the vast majority of them will find suitable new work in the region.

"There has already been a high level of demand from leading North East companies keen to take on redundant Northern Rock employees, and as of this morning there are more than 2,000 vacancies in the North East business services sector waiting to be filled."

The Newcastle steps in

Other North East businesses pledged to step in when the redundancies take effect. Newcastle Building Society was on hand to offer their support...

Colin Seccombe, Chief Executive at Newcastle Building Society, said: "This is obviously a very difficult time for many hundreds of Northern Rock employees, but we believe that the employment opportunities that The Newcastle has available will offer many of them a very attractive future career option.

"We have already taken on 40 former Rock staff this year, and now that these redundancy figures have been confirmed, we would expect to see both the number of enquiries we receive from Rock staff and the number of such applicants that we subsequently employ to rise significantly over the coming months - and we have indeed already seen enquiry numbers increasing over the last 24 hours."


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