New lease of life for former miners at Thoresby Colliery

LAST PIT STANDING -- Thoresby Colliery, which was the county's final pit to close after 90 years of production.
LAST PIT STANDING -- Thoresby Colliery, which was the county's final pit to close after 90 years of production.

Miners who lost their jobs in July with the closure of Thoresby Colliery, Nottinghamshire’s last working coal mine, have been found new leases of life.

After the shutdown of the colliery in July, many pitmen feared they would be thrown on to the unemployment scrapheap.

But instead, with the help of the Futures Advice, Skills and Employment organisation, they have embarked on new jobs and training.

These jobs include health and saafety management, LGV driving, production management, data clearks in hospitals, warehouse operatives, electrical engineering and team supervising in a technological group.

One ex-miner, Mark Perkin, who worked at Thoresby for 34 years, has just completed his LGV driving training thanks to the support he received from Futures. He says: “The service that Futures provides has been valuable to my search for life after mining.

“They offer the right opportunities and service for people out of work, and they have a friendly approach. I’d like to thank my adviser for her continued follow-up conversations we’ve had since I walked into the office. It shows how committed Futures staff are and supportive towards the people they help.”

Futures is a leading not-for-profit provider of jobs and skills advice, training, apprenticeships and support. Its team of professionally trained careers experts has worked with former colliery employees during their redundancy.

Help provided has included in the fields of CV writing, interview technique, job searching and application writing, IT support and free workshops.

Futures’ team manager Graham Whyborn said: “For many of the ex-colliery employees, mining was all they knew, so they were, understandably, very apprehensive about the type of employment they could go into.

“By working with our experienced career advisers, we were able to identify transferrable skills and show how they could adapt these skills in other sustainable jobs.”

A total of 600 workers were gradually laid off, through compulsory or voluntary redundancy, after it was announced that Thoresby Colliery would close because it was no longer financially viable. The remaining 360 miners left when the pit ceased operation on July 10 and officially closed on July 24.

The pit opened in 1925 when two shafts were sunk to a depth of 690 metres, giving access to several seams. The shafts were deepened further in the 1950s.

Over the years, the pit employed hundreds of thousands of people. It was one of 46 coal mines in the county that supplied more than 14 million tonnes of coal at their peak in the early 1960s.

At one time, Thoresby produced up to 100,000 tonnes of coal per week, making huge profits of £50 million a year. After privatisation of the National Coal Board in the 1990s, Thoresby was taken over by RJB Mining (later UK Coal as UK Coal Thoresby Ltd).