Coventry-based Synergy Gas Services, which started off as a one-man operation 12 months ago, now boasts a 14-strong workforce, with plans to expand further.

Former Eaga technical surveyor Matt Williams founded the company to install gas boilers and central heating systems across the East and West Midlands. Now, it has two main gas contracts, providing installations in the private and social housing markets, and is also currently in negotiation with a number of other energy providers with a view to increasing its order books.

Mr Williams employs an additional eight engineers and four labourers and, with further large contracts in the pipeline, hopes to double his existing workforce within the next six months.

“Setting up on my own wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but I knew that the time was right for me and, because I used to work for Eaga, there was a huge amount of help available to me through the eaga Trust,” Mr Williams explained.

He continued: “I heard through a friend that the eaga Trust was offering skill builder grants to help ex-employees with re training, so I contacted them for help with re-taking my gas qualifications as I let them lapse while I was doing management roles.

“Then, with the help of the Trust’s business-funding initiative, I was able to put a deposit down on a van, build up tools and cover other costs like insurance and registrations.

“That’s only part of the story, though, because without the practical and management experience I gained at Eaga, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I have a very great deal to thank them for.”

The eaga Trust has helped create more than 100 new employee-owned businesses across the UK, and more than 1,000 members have used their skill-builder fund to improve their employment prospects or embark on a new career.

Lisa Young, ambassador of the eaga Trust, said: “The Trust was formed to help people like Matt and we are immensely proud of his achievements. We would like to help anyone else who, like Matt, used to work for Eaga and now wants to set up their own business.”