Future Southampton

📰 300 residents to benefit from skills initiative at Southampton's Arts Complex scheme

    • Arts Complex_Matthew

    Arts Complex_Matthew - Photo Credit: Grosvenor

    • Arts Complex_Alex

    Arts Complex_Alex - Photo Credit: Grosvenor

    • Arts Complex by night from Guildhall Square

    Arts Complex by night from Guildhall Square - Photo Credit: Grosvenor GBI

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More than 300 Southampton residents will have the opportunity to be part of the city’s new £40m arts complex scheme which is being delivered by Grosvenor Developments and Southampton City Council. The developers are working with contractor McLaren Construction to offer local schools, colleges, universities and other agencies employment and work experience opportunities as part of a co-ordinated skills and training programme.

To date more than 30 local people and groups have taken part in training or skills development sessions. This includes seven new apprentices and five local people who have found permanent roles on site. The number of people given opportunities to learn about construction will increase as the new arts complex moves into the fit-out stage and the commercial occupiers move in to the new shops and restaurants and start trading later this year.

Matthew Adomah is a final year student at Southampton Solent University studying Construction Management.  Matthew said: “I currently work for McLaren 3 days a week on site and spend 2 days a week at University. I love being on site as the subjects we study at University are mostly theoretical but on site we put theory into practice. I have learnt lots of new skills that will assist me with my future career and will help me secure a full time job following graduation.”

Former student Alex Nicholson, who has been employed by McLaren as a banksman, where his main role is being responsible for directing the movement and loading and unloading of lorries, or directing the movement of other plant including cranes. He said: “I’ve been delighted to secure a full time job with McLaren and really pleased that local people like me are benefitting from all the new developments happening in the City Centre”

Structural engineer Milda Pladaite said: "I'm a Graduate in Engineering from the University of Southampton and am now working full time with McLaren here in Southampton. This is my first full time job which has provided me with invaluable practical experience”

HNC Graduate Jamie Prior spends a day a week in college and four days on site. He said: “I absolutely love it. It's great to be part of a team delivering such a high profile building and it's provided me with a fantastic insight into the delivery of a major construction project”.

Located in the heart of the city, the new arts complex will comprise seven restaurant/retail units, 38 stunning new residential apartments, arts facilities for City Eye, the University of Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery and a multi-purpose performing arts centre with two flexible performance spaces and a dance studio.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey recently visited the arts complex. During his visit, he said: “I was particularly impressed by the commitment to developing young people’s skills training, which is an important legacy for a project of this calibre.”

Simon Armstrong, project director at Grosvenor Developments, said:  “It is a priority for us and our partners on this special project to offer skills and training opportunities to local people. Overall we expect more than 300 people to work on the project. To date this has focussed on construction, but as we move forward there will be more employment opportunities in the restaurants and new arts facilities.”

Simon Letts Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “The Arts Complex is part of an investment of over £1.6 billion that the council and its partners have secured for the city and it is essential that local people benefit directly from this. To ensure this happens we ask all developers to commit to an Employment and Skills Plan with their construction partners, and Grosvenor Developments and McLaren are set to meet or exceed the targets we agreed with them at the outset. We’re keen to build on this as we embark on the fit-out of the Arts Complex later this year and as occupiers start to move into the new buildings”

The skills and training programme is the subject of a film recently made by students from Solent Creatives part of Solent University which was commissioned by Grosvenor Developments.