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High-Flying Start For Former SSI Worker’s New Business

One of the first commissions for a former steel plant employee, who has turned his hobby into a business thanks to SSI Task Force support, is helping map the erosion of the ice caps in Greenland.

Lee Bullock, of Marske, who was a SSI production operative, has set up The Aerial Aspect, a drone-based photographic business, with support from the SSI Task Force Business Advice Start up Fund.

Lee, who has received business advice and support from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s Enterprise Team, is being mentored by Andrew Griffiths, of Droneflight in Richmond.

He is due to work with Mr Griffiths on a scientist-led project in Greenland in the summer, which will involve capturing images of the changing landscape.

Lee also already has secured aerial filming work with a golf course, a caravan park and estate agents.

The 28-year-old said: “I have flown model helicopters and planes for a number of years and am passionate about photography.

“After doing my homework and finding there is substantial demand, from a wide range of organisations and companies, for drone-based photographic work, I decided to combine both my hobbies and turn them into a business.

“I already have attracted interest from several companies about commissioning my drone photography services and while I am a little nervous, I also am extremely excited about being my own boss. Not many people can say they have got a job that they really, really love. It was a blow when I lost my job at SSI, but I now am very positive about the future.”

Lee added: “The support and advice I have had has been excellent and the process was all very straight forward.”

Lee conducted extensive market research, which demonstrated there was a need for his services ranging from roof and property inspections to weddings and other celebration events. He also is in talks about providing footage for a documentary making company, which has done work for Channel 4.

Amanda Skelton, chair of the SSI Task Force and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: “Lee is one of 280 people who have sought advice about setting up in business and are now receiving support from the Task Force. Over 70 people have taken the brave step to get started and Lee is a great role model of that entrepreneurial spirit.”

The SSI Task Force Business Advice Start up Fund supports the provision of advice and grants of up to £10,000 to help former steel workers launch their own businesses.

To access support, contact the North East Enterprise Agency Limited (NEEAL) on 0191 516 6093 (9am – 4pm Monday to Friday).