National Horizons Centre contractor sets out commitment to community in Darlington | Wates

7 new jobs will be created
4 new apprentices will be recruited
110 existing apprentices will be supported
12 work placement positions will be generated
10 school site visits will be hosted
5 education engagement workshops will be delivered

Local people and businesses in Darlington are set to benefit from the creation of Teesside University’s £22.3m National Horizons Centre following a community pledge by contractor, Wates Construction.

The leading construction company will utilise its appointment by Teesside University to provide a tangible economic and social impact in Darlington through the creation of employment and training opportunities, engaging a local supply chain and supporting local community groups.

This includes a pledge to create seven employment opportunities and four apprenticeship positions for local people while also supporting 110 existing apprentices and providing 12 work placements. Wates will also host 10 site visits from local schools, colleges and Teesside University and will deliver five workshops with local community groups covering aspects such as CV writing, teambuilding and practical skills training.

In addition, Darlington jobseekers will have the chance to take part in Wates’ accredited training programme, Building Futures, which aims to provide local people with a helping hand towards employment. The two-week course will see participants take part in a variety of construction trade taster sessions such as plumbing and joinery as well as completing the required health and safety tests to gain Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) accreditation.

Construction of the new research, teaching and training facility for Teesside University began at the start of the year with the start on site officially marked by the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry. Completed is expected in spring 2019.

Located at Central Park in Darlington, the National Horizons Centre is set to drive growth in the regional and national bioscience industries by developing the technical, innovation and management skills and knowledge needed for the sector to generate jobs and wealth in the Tees Valley and the UK.

Paul Dodsworth, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction North East and Yorkshire, said:

“At Wates we believe that business should be a force for good and we are underpinning this ethos in Darlington with a tangible commitment to job creation, supply chain investment and community engagement.
It is our express intention that our presence here will not only result in growth for the regional and national biosciences sector through the development of this cutting-edge facility but also a significant boost to social and economic development.”

Teesside University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) Professor Jane Turner OBE, commented:

“The National Horizons Centre will play a major role in addressing the growth needs of some of the most rapidly expanding UK technology sectors.
It will specialise in developing the full range of skills and knowledge for the bioscience sector and drive the application of digital technologies to improve performance and productivity in advanced manufacturing.
We are delighted that Wates Construction is demonstrating its commitment to the skills agenda by investing in employment and training opportunities for people in the region and utilising the local supply chain.”

The project was procured via the YORbuild2 framework, which has been developed to provide an efficient and collaborative approach to the procurement of construction projects.

It can be accesed by local authorities, public sector bodies or third sector organisations across the Yorkshire and Humber region, Sheffield LEP area, North East England and Lincolnshire.

Fergus Aitken, Programme Manager for YORbuild2, said:

“YORbuild2 promotes the delivery of employment and skills and economic regeneration on all of our projects and the measures being taken by Wates are a fine example of what can be achieved.”

The National Horizons Centre has been financially supported by the Local Growth Fund bia the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund. The Local Growth Fund contribution of £17.5m represents the single biggest investment by the fund in the Tees Valley.

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