Fifty-six apprentices are now working on the ambitious Gateway project at Birmingham New Street station and Mace, Network Rail’s delivery partner, looks set to achieve its target of bringing more than 100 unemployed young people into work by 2015.
While the Gateway Project will modernise a station which is struggling to serve growing passenger numbers it is also attempting to ease the pressure of growing youth unemployment in Birmingham.
On Wednesday, July 25, the company held a celebration event to mark the milestone.
Richard Thorpe, head of delivery from Mace, said: “Our main aim is to kick start the careers of young people in Birmingham; to give them a foothold on the ladder of our industry, an opportunity to earn a living, to be fully employed and develop themselves and, possibly, turn them into the leaders of our business in the future.”
The Gateway Project has been described as the biggest refurbishment project in Europe and the biggest construction project outside of London in the UK.
The £750 million redevelopment aims to deliver a massively improved station to accommodate future passenger growth and a John Lewis department store which will anchor a new-look Pallasades shopping centre above the station.
The Gateway Project will enlarge the concourse, make the centre of the station light and airy by opening it up to the sky, and change the outward appearance of the old concrete station by covering it in a mirror-finish stainless steel façade.
the rail engineer
In February, Mace set a target of training more than 100 construction apprentices by 2015.
Thorpe added: “The challenge for you guys is to get here to become our leaders of our business for the future. This is putting people into the opportunities for learning and education to develop their careers in construction.”
Chris Montgomery, from project partner Network Rail, said: “We’re here to celebrate a real success story. I can just say the number of apprentices we’ve got here is beyond my wildest expectations.”