“I think the benefits have been very wide, when we commenced on site one of the first things that we did was engage with the local regeneration organisations to look at what opportunities we could create for local people,” said contract supplier Tim Brown.
“We got steered towards Job Centre Plus and as a result of that we interviewed quite a number of people and we took on 24 from the beginning - many of which were long-term unemployed and a couple of guys who were young offenders.
We took them on in September and in the year since we’ve trained them up to drive excavators and dump trucks, we’ve trained them up in health and safety and more importantly, as well as giving them some money in their pockets every week, it’s giving them some self-respect back.
Looking ahead to the next phase of development, Tim is hopeful that he can continue to nurture his employees and build on the workforce that has already been established.
“We’ve watched these guys develop and become a lot more confident as they work on site and the big reward for these people is they’ve had employment, they’ve got new skills which they can take forward. Hopefully they can take these skills on to the next part of the project too.
“They’re good people, they’ve learnt the trade and they’re reliable. They’ll be there at seven o’clock on the morning, they’ll be there at seven o’clock in the evening and we’d recommend them to any employer and definitely for the next stage of the project.”
One person who has already benefited is Michael Gebryohannes, who was employed as a workman at Buckingham Group and is delighted to have been given an opportunity to be involved in the project.
“With this job I get more experience and a lot more confidence,” he revealed.