“Like many people working in the steel industry it has been in my family for generations, my grandfather and father worked at Llanwern.
“I started off as a contractor in the coke ovens as a bricklayer rebuilding and repairing the batteries, this stood me in good stead for transferring to being a British Steel employee in 1996, working as a senior operator repairing the ladles and degasser vessels. From there I had the chance to move over to a production position on the concast until the devastating heavy end closure in 2001.
“The closure hit me hard and I decided to leave the industry for a few years but this was not for me, eager to return to steel I took up a position as a ladleman at Alpha steel (now Liberty) in Newport. That was until an opportunity arose to work at the steel plant at Corus in Port Talbot.
“It was in Port Talbot that I became a Community branch secretary and soon realised how challenging it was being a local official and how much time was needed to dedicate to the members to ensure they had the best service that I could give. This was made easier by the support I received from all the longstanding Community reps, whose help and experience has been invaluable to me.
“In 2014 I embraced the role of a Regional organiser. I have played a part in the union’s most important campaigns such as Save Our Steel and the Safer Justice Sector campaign. I have been fortunate to work across all sectors within community, but steel has always remained close to my heart.
“Through major changes within the industry being in this position has enabled me to feel as though I could give more to people I class as my friends who were at risk of losing their livelihood, even though emotionally this was testing. This drove me to get the best possible outcome I could achieve.
“These experiences also bring you closer together and that is what Community is about. It’s about being at the heart of the towns and lives of our members. That’s why I’ve been proud to be alongside Community members such as when we did the sponsored walk for Ty Hafan. It was a group of us as friends, colleagues and Community members giving something back to our area, so that others could benefit.
“Now in 2019 I’m starting a new chapter as a national organiser for steel. I believe this gives me a greater platform to forge new relationships within British Steel and Liberty and to continue to do the best I can for our members across the sector.”
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