APPRENTICES have spoken of their pride in helping complete a flagship development while laying the foundations for promising careers.
Harry Rowan and Tom Heath were delighted to see Tameside One open after all their work on the pioneering project, part of the Vision Tameside scheme.
But it’s been a rollercoaster journey after apprenticeships were jeopardised when original sub-contractor Carillion went into liquidation.
Robertson Construction Group Limited, one of the largest independently owned construction companies in the UK, replaced Carillion and pledged to help apprentices complete their apprenticeship programme.
Tameside Council’s apprentices have also gained skills and experience through being involved in the project, including five apprentices helping construct the public realm work and 18 apprentices working as “meet and greeters” to help visitors find their way around.
Harry and Tom have made the most of the opportunity on the development, which comprises of a new Joint Public Service Centre featuring a state-of-the-art library, Tameside Council’s Customer Services, Citizens Advice, Cash Box Credit Union and Jobcentre Plus, which are all now open.
It’s also home to Tameside College’s Advanced Skills Centre and Wilko’s will open new retail space later in the year.
The development will also include other Tameside & Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group and council services, bringing hundreds of new staff and students to Ashton town centre, boosting the town centre economy.
Based in Market Place, Ashton, Tameside One provides residents with more cost effective and customer friendly facilities.
Harry (21), from Stalybridge, started an apprenticeship in bricklaying with Carillion in 2016 and was close to completing Level 2 when the project stalled last year. It was a worrying time and he was relieved when Tameside Council and Robertson stepped in.
He is now working on Level 3, assisting in office management, to complete his apprenticeship with Robertson, in partnership with Tameside College.
Harry said: “I’ve really enjoyed my apprenticeship. It’s a great feeling to see the building complete after so much work and it looks fantastic. I’m looking forward to completing my apprenticeship and moving onto the next stage of my career.”
Tom (22) completed his apprenticeship on the Vision Tameside project and gained the position of trainee site manager with Carillion in July 2017. When Robertson took over the project, they secured Tom’s role as a trainee site manager.
Through the firm’s structured training programme and mentoring, Tom was promoted after only six months to the role of Assistant Site Manager.
Tom has taken part in Robertson’s Young Persons Professional network, speaking to young people about his route into construction and the benefits of completing an apprenticeship.
Tom said: “It has been a great experience working on and completing the Tameside One project. The finished building looks amazing and is a great tribute to all the hard work that has been put in by everyone that worked on the project.”
Tameside Council Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: “I’m thrilled that apprentices such as Harry and Tom were able to continue with their careers on Vision Tameside and help complete this wonderful building. They are the next generation of workers in Tameside and I wish them all the best for the future.”
All Carillion employees that had worked on the project and were looking for employment were given roles by Robertson.
Dirk Pittaway, Managing Director of Robertson North West, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to successfully deliver this project and, at the same time, help the next generation begin their careers.
“Harry and Tom have impressed their colleagues with their dedication, skills and potential and have become invaluable members of the team.
“We are exploring further opportunities that may be available to Harry within Robertson to further develop his skills and career.
“And Robertson will mentor Tom to fulfil his career aspirations in site management through our Young Person Strategy and continue to provide him with training and opportunities to develop his skills.”
For more information on the Vision Tameside project please go to http://www.visiontameside.com/