RECRUITMENT will start next month for up to 1,000 workers required to restart steel making in the North-East.

Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) will also reveal in the next few weeks when the Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant it took control of in March will start operations again.

When the Thai firm completed its £291m takeover of the Redcar plant SSI president Win Viriyaprapaikit said at least 800 jobs would be created, but the firm hinted last month that this figure could rise.

This was in addition to the 700 workers who remained at the Teesside plant following its partial mothballing by Tata Steel, formerly Corus, in February last year.

The firm has previously said it will be a phased recruitment, with people needed to start month-by-month.

It is likely to include experienced steelworkers as well youngsters and workers new to the industry.

Exact details of jobs available will be advertised both on SSI's website and in publications from August 8, with JobCentre Plus also involved in the recruitment process.

Phil Dryden, Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) UK chief executive, had previously pointed out that the plant's condition had to be analysed and plans put in place for refurbishment work before he could answer the "$6m question" of when it would restart production.

Last night he said: "I realise that since SSI UK purchased the Teesside facility in March this year, there has been a great interest within the Teesside community about when steelmaking will be resumed.

"There has already been a considerable amount of time and effort invested in planning the project, and I am hopeful that we can give a target date soon.

"With this in mind we are taking another significant step in commencing the recruitment programme in August."

Yesterday's announcement was greeted by unions and politicians as another significant step.

TCP multi-union chairman Geoff Waterfield said: "It is not unexpected but it is really good news for an awful lot of people in the community who have been waiting to hear and are wanting to come back."

As well as offering employment to experienced steelworkers Mr Waterfield believed it would offer a "fabulous" opportunity for youngsters looking to enter the industry.

"It says to the outside world SSI are here, taking people on and soon we will have a start date and be making steel again.

"There are 1,000 golden tickets out there. For me the finish line is when we start to make the steel, we are in the final few furlongs but need to finish the job."

Redcar MP Ian Swales said it could lead to a bright future ahead for young people in the region.

He said: "They will want a blend of new people and experienced people and I am particularly pleased they are already talking about recruiting young people because youth unemployment is a particular problem in the region, as it is across the rest of the country." Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP, Tom Blenkinsop, said it was a new dawn.

"I know that one thing that will stand out for the SSI managers will be the enthusiasm and tenacity of their new workers," he said.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council leader George Dunning added: "It is fantastic news, 1,000 jobs and hopefully knock-on effects within the supply chain."