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New Construction Skills Centre for Tameside Students

Bardsley Construction Ltd has been appointed as the main contractor to deliver the new Tameside Construction Skills Centre for Tameside College. The £7m development, procured through the Procure North West Framework, is set to become the leading facility for technical skills training in Greater Manchester.

Currently, construction skills training is delivered across numerous buildings on the college’s Beaufort Road campus. The new Construction Skills Centre will provide a high-quality, one-stop-solution to house all trade workshops under one roof, including carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, electrical, plumbing and gas departments.

The 2,749sqm building has been designed by 10Architects, a practice committed to designing buildings which leave a positive social legacy. Scott Hughes Design has been appointed to deliver the structural, civil and sustainability services and to work with the project team to achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certification.

The design features high-quality materials which will create a modern and attractive teaching and learning environment, aimed at kickstarting the regeneration of the site and improving the overall appearance of the campus. The two-storey, steel frame building has been designed to allow capacity for future expansion into a mezzanine area which will link to the existing Victoria building.

Robbie Blackhurst, Procure Partnerships Director, commented on the project; “The project is aligned with the social and economic ambitions of the council to raise attainment within the borough. The Construction Skills Centre will play a significant part in helping to address the challenges associated with current skills shortages and will support hundreds of people in the region to develop the skills and qualifications they need to work in the construction sector. This development will also benefit construction companies in the North West, allowing them to build the skilled workforce they need to support their businesses.”

The project is backed by Manchester Combined Authority and will receive funding from the Adult Education Budget (AEB), intended to directly boost the career prospects of local people through the provision of high-quality learning opportunities.

Main contractor, Bardsley Construction Ltd, has committed to delivering a programme of Social Value which will ensure students at the college who are training for a career in the industry will have the opportunity to learn directly from the construction works.

Ged Rooney, Bardsley Pre-Construction Director, commented on the project; “Working as main contractor, there will be many opportunities for our team to engage with students and provide an insight into the construction process, via technical trade visits and practical workshops. We plan to utilise the skills of our specialist subcontractors and partners to support student learning in areas such as structural engineering and steel fabrication, organising visits to their manufacturing facilities for a valuable ‘behind the scenes’ experience.”

Bardsley has worked alongside Tameside College for many years, supporting the college with apprenticeships, training opportunities, work placements and social enterprise. Recognising the importance of providing opportunities for those looking to enter the construction industry, Bardsley has committed to recruiting an additional 3 apprentices to work directly on the Construction Skills Centre project. Additional apprenticeships will also be delivered through the project supply chain and will be prioritised during the procurement phase in order to maximise the opportunity for students at the college.

Bardsley Construction Ltd is working closely with the Tameside College Facilities Management team during the pre-construction phase to address the challenges associated with working within an operational college. Regular communication and formal arrangements to update all stakeholders in the progress of the project will be essential to maintain a safe environment and to ensure continuity for students and teaching staff.

The enabling works are currently progressing under a separate contract and have included a significant amount of demolition work and the relocation of the existing college service infrastructure. The 57-week construction programme is due to commence on site in November 2019 and is scheduled for completion in December 2020.