Four new students have been placed on work experience on-site every week and three students have been offered employment, as a direct result of the £46.5 million leisure facility currently being built.
To date, the main contractor Balfour Beatty has hosted 34 visits by local schools, 25 by Plymouth University and UCP Marjon and seven by City College Plymouth.
As well as this, 13 different local community groups have paid 22 visits and more than 120 construction industry professionals have been to the site. In total, nearly 60 different organisations and over 874 people have made more than 80 visits.
The majority of the site visits, demonstrations, work experience and apprenticeship opportunities have been facilitated by Keith Batchelor, the company’s Community Liaison Officer, who has been employed in the role since July last year. Keith has over 48 years of experience in the industry and is Chairman of the Regional National Skills Academy Group.
Vivien Pengelly, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “Balfour Beatty has been exemplary in working with local community groups, schools, colleges, Plymouth University and other stakeholders throughout the construction of the Plymouth Life Centre. From the outset, the team has placed a great deal of importance on keeping a whole host of people and organisations with an interest in the project up-to-date with progress. Its dedicated Community Liaison Officer has worked tirelessly to make sure our aspirations to engage the wider community and offer opportunities to the local workforce have been met.”
Keith Batchelor said: “I’m very proud of the impact that the stakeholder engagement programme has had on the relationships we’ve developed with Plymouth City Council. I believe they really appreciate the added value that it has brought to the project. Seeing the response from work experience students has been a highlight – everyone has expressed their gratitude and surprise at the scale of the development. It’s really given them a greater insight into the industry, and one they might not have had during their course, if it hadn’t been for the Plymouth Life Centre.”
Sharron Robbie, Corporate Relations Manager at City College Plymouth, added: “Being able to involve our students in community-based activity is great, as it gives them a real sense of belonging and achievement. The Plymouth Life Centre is one of the biggest construction projects in the region at the moment and the fact that our construction students have been given the opportunity to experience work-based learning on such a large scale is remarkable.”
The Plymouth Life Centre has also provided work experience for 12 people returning to work through Working Links. Each of the 12 people was offered two-week placements in tiling, plastering, carpentry and brickwork.
Kelly Crane, Employer Services Consultant for Working Links, said: “The programme has been a big success for everyone involved and a great opportunity for our clients. It’s been great to build relationships and work in partnership with Balfour Beatty and their subcontractors, as well as Plymouth City Council and the whole team involved in the construction of the Plymouth Life Centre. This scheme has resulted in one of the clients gaining employment and all receiving references to enable them to find future employment.”
The Plymouth Life Centre is the city’s single biggest investment in leisure facilities. As one of the country’s leading centres for sporting excellence, the Plymouth Life Centre will host local, national and international events once completed.
More information can be found at www.plymouth.gov.uk/lifecentre.
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