Corus apprentice Josh Caddy faces an uncertain future after Teesside Cast Products was mothballed
Two young Corus apprentices say 18 months of hard work have been wasted now Teesside Cast Products is being mothballed.
Josh Caddy and Ben Gowland, both from Redcar, were just a few weeks away from finishing their two-year courses.
But, as Corus bosses have confirmed the plant is being wound down, they are unlikely to become qualified in time.
The friends told BBC Tees' Richard Edwards say they might be forced to leave Teesside and find work elsewhere.
Both Josh, 17, and Ben, 20, have family roots in Teesside's steel trade.
Ben's granddad was a steelmaker, while Josh's great-granddad helped to build Middlesbrough's first blast furnaces.
Josh said: "I started straight from school.
"At the time, steel profits were booming and I was thinking this would be a long-term thing.
"Now, we are 18 months through the course and we have no qualifications to go elsewhere.
"It's quite depressing really. I had high hopes for Corus, I thought I'd be following this as a career path.
"There's not many other places that employ as well as Corus do, so mothballing will have a big impact on me, as well as the area itself."
Ben said jobs have come up at other Corus sites, but the pair's young age is working against them:
"Any other Corus jobs will go to the workers with experience.
"We're not long off completing the course, but by getting finished, 18 months feel like they've been wasted.
"If we had finished the course, at least there would have been something to fall back on."
Right up until the decision to mothball TCP, Josh believed there was a future for steelmaking on Teesside:
"We're coming out of the recession now, we've got the deep water port and a skilled, committed workforce.
"There was profit there for Corus, if only they could have hung on that bit longer".
Ben said he fears what the effect on his home town will be:
"Shops are shutting in Redcar already, when that many people are laid off I can't imagine what's going to happen.
"I never wanted to leave, I was happy to stay on Teesside and work hard at Corus. Unfortunately it looks like that decision is being taken out of my hands."