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Mayor of Greater Manchester visits airport to mark 80th apprentice on site

Posted 2 August 2018 · Add Comment

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has visited Manchester Airport’s £1bn transformation programme to mark the 80th apprentice starting work on site.

During a tour of the project’s construction site, the Mayor also met with small and medium-sized companies from around Greater Manchester that are benefitting from being awarded contracts to deliver the scheme.

Tom Bedford, 18, Salford, is working for Bedford Fabrications as a Fabricator/Welder and became the project’s 80th apprentice, just a month after the UK’s third largest airport turned 80 itself.  Over the course of the project – the largest investment in the airport’s history – more than 150 apprentices will be recruited.

It comes as the number of people currently working on one of the largest construction projects in the North of England reached more than 1,000.  Of those, 72% are from within a 35 mile radius. And the latest data shows that since the first spade went in the ground, £188m has been spent with SMEs in the supply chain, of which £132m has gone to firms in Greater Manchester. This includes William Hare’s, from Bury, that fabricated the steelwork that has been used on the pier and terminal extension in a contract worth £28million.

Meanwhile, for one business, the award of the contract for the cladding of the pier and terminal extension has led to them setting up a Manchester office.  Prater has now established a base in Cheadle to service their North West clients, including Manchester Airport.

Mr Burnham met with representatives from Prater during his tour, as well as apprentices Emma Coates and Keel Parker.

Emma, 34, of Bollington, Cheshire, had worked for years in retail but wanted to try a new trade and jumped at the opportunity to work on the project as an apprentice heating and ventilation craftsperson. She hopes her story will inspire others that people from a range of backgrounds can successfully change careers and pick up new skills.

Keel, 21, of Swinton, Salford, is learning a range of scaffolding skills as part of his apprenticeship, which he will take onto other jobs in the region after working on the airport transformation.

Mr Burnham said: “Manchester Airport is a massive asset to our city region, connecting those living and working here to more global destinations than ever before, as well as helping attract visitors and tourists in the other direction.

“The investment it is making will further enhance Greater Manchester’s international credentials and make a major contribution to placing the city region at the heart of a prosperous Northern economy.

“What is great to see is that the project is also doing a huge amount to create employment for people from all backgrounds and providing training that will ensure it leaves a skills legacy for future generations.

“The fact so many Greater Manchester businesses are working on the airport’s transformation, creating and sustaining jobs in the process, can only be good news for our economy.”

Rob Stewart, Programme Delivery Director for MAN-TP, said: “This is the largest ever investment in Manchester Airport.  As well as transforming the airport and the customer experience it’s also great to see that the project is having a hugely positive impact on the lives of people who are able to secure jobs on site and to many firms across Greater Manchester who are delivering various aspects of the scheme.”

After the tour, the Mayor visited the Good Mood Food canteen which is located on the construction site for workers.  The café is run by Laing O’Rourke in conjunction with Manchester MIND, a mental health charity.  As well as usual favourites, it also offers a healthier menu and encourages good wellbeing with 10 per cent of profits going to Manchester MIND.

Manchester Airport already plays a key role as a major employer in Greater Manchester with 23,000 people employed across the campus and a further 25,000 jobs supported indirectly in the region. The transformation programme will see Terminal 2 grow by 150% to become the airport’s main terminal.  Work is progressing quickly on site and the first pier is set to open to passengers in April 2019 with the terminal extension due to open in 2020.

It’s the largest ever investment in Manchester Airport with £1bn being spent to create a world class gateway for Manchester and the North of England.  Companies from around Greater Manchester are already feeling the benefits of the programmes having been awarded a number of lucrative contracts to work on the scheme.

Laing O’Rourke Project Director, Bryan Glass said: “We were delighted to welcome Andy Burnham to the project and introduce him to our apprentices and members of our local supply chain. As well as delivering the transformation of Terminal 2, we are absolutely committed to leaving a positive legacy in the local area.

“The apprentices that begin their career on a project of this scale will look back with pride at the contribution they have made, and the skills they develop here will allow them to progress onto future projects. In time, our apprentices may well lead in the delivery of other iconic UK buildings and infrastructure.”

James Finlason, Senior Project Manager for Prater, said: “The Manchester Airport Transformation Programme is the most prestigious project being undertaken and delivered in partnership with our client, Laing O’Rourke. Prater have invested a huge amount of time in the pre-construction period sourcing and vetting local businesses to assist and support us with the delivery of the full envelope package on this flagship project. As a business and in line with our Core Values we are keen to support the local economy and workforce including the recruitment of a number of trainees and apprentices to further solidify our position in the North West.”

As well as transforming the transport hub for all of the North, Manchester Airport continues to add a wealth of long haul destinations that outside of London can only be found at the Northern gateway. In recent years it has added San Francisco, Boston, Beijing and Muscat, with Mumbai and Addis Ababa starting later this year.


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