After losing his job last year due to the pandemic, an Aberdeen engineer is using his recent success to offer those in a similar situation employment.
Oil and gas worker Marko Steiger was made redundant from Halliburton back in May and has since used his engineering talents to build a hand sanitiser firm from the ground up.
Now in a position to give others the chance at a fresh career, his firm PalmSafe will be hiring 20 members of staff as part of the government’s kickstart scheme.
Mr Steiger said: “I am delighted that, after having gone through the pain of being out of work, PalmSafe is already in the position to hire staff and expand our business.”
One of thousands to be cut from the oil industry in response to downturns earlier last year and the pandemic, Mr Steiger knows first-hand that the job market is a hostile one.
Turning a setback into a business, he initially started experimenting in his kitchen due to his girlfriend working in the NHS and finding her hands suffered as a result of regular sanitiser.
After tinkering and using different chemicals he created a less harsh product.
Since then, with the help of a friend, PalmSafe has also set up a website to allow businesses and consumers a direct line to acquiring their products. This has allowed them to sell thousands of units in the past few months as well as donating to many others.
Demand for the sanitiser is outgrowing the size of the firm’s current premises in Aberdeen with clients like Urban Outfitters wanting to stock the product. PalmSafe has already taken on five new staff members with the plans for more by the year’s end to keep up with the businesses’ growth.
Mr Steiger added: “We will be hiring via the government-backed Kickstart scheme with a view to helping young people, who are currently unemployed, get a start on the career ladder.”
The scheme which was launched back in September of last year is hoped to help young people in Scotland into work.
Youngsters aged 16-24 who are currently claiming Universal Credit are eligible to apply for the government-subsidised roles.
Mr Steiger said: “In total we will be hiring for 20 positions before the end of the year and five new employees have already been recruited under the scheme.
“It is fantastic to be able to give something back in the form of new job opportunities for local young people, after receiving so much support from local customers
and businesses in Aberdeen.”
The new roles will involve bottling of the products as well as sales and marketing representatives.
PalmSafe also recently partnered with Aberdeen mental health support organisation, Man Chat, and created a special sanitiser for men.
The special bottles include suicide prevention messaging and a helpline number for anyone suffering from mental health issues.
Several high-profile companies have bought bulk orders to distribute to their staff.