News

An opportunity to grow; delivering apprenticeships in Craigavon

14/01/2020

With an acute skills shortage across the construction industry, recruiting and retaining young people is key to securing a strong, dynamic workforce for the future. Our projects are about making communities better, through embedded social value as standard and creating opportunities for local people.

Together with our delivery partner, Farrans Construction, we are helping Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC Council) create the stunning new £35m South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon, whilst helping as many as 20 apprentices build their skills and confidence through on-the-job training.

This is a dedicated programme designed to provide a new and exciting range of opportunities for young people who are keen on progressing a career in the construction sector.

By choosing to deliver their project through our Major Works framework, which has since been superseded by the National Construction framework, ABC Council can facilitate high levels of spend within the local area as well as engagement with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-businesses.

Skills development is a key priority in helping to drive, support and grow a successful local economy and we’re delighted that working with Farrans on our largest capital project investment to date, has created so many opportunities for work-based learning and training have been created.

– Councillor Mealla Campbell, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Once complete, the leisure centre, which will create 500 construction jobs during its development, will be home to world-class facilities including a 50-metre swimming pool, Northern Ireland’s largest gym at over 1,000 square metres, an eight-court sports hall and an extensive outdoor water-sports provision.

The new complex will also feature an indoor children's soft play area and innovative new ‘Pool Pod' platform lifts, designed to improve pool access for people with disabilities and for those who are less mobile.

The construction phase alone is expected to deliver an estimated £6.5m in direct wages to the economy, and the 500 jobs directly created are in addition to the permanent staff that will run the new leisure facility, which is due to be completed in 2020.

During his apprenticeship, we spoke to Kealan, an apprentice engineer and competitive swimmer at Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club, who told us his experience was “unbeatable”

When the opportunity arose to move to the leisure centre site, which is also close to home, I was ecstatic. I’ve been able to quickly advance my skill set and improve my knowledge as an engineer for the future. Working on this project has also enabled me to greatly understand the functionality of large-scale buildings, which will aid me in my experience and knowledge as I drive towards finishing my degree in Civil engineering.

– Kealan McCambridge, Apprentice

Our frameworks embed collaboration throughout, and we are committed to engaging with approved local businesses, sub-contractors and suppliers to ensure that the Craigavon project will provide significant growth opportunities for local people and local businesses.

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