The next generation of builders are playing a key role in the £60 million refurbishment of Meadowhall Shopping Centre as the number of apprentices working on the project has tripled in the last six months.
There are now 13 apprentices working on the redevelopment, which is the biggest single investment in the shopping complex since opening more than 25 years ago.
Due to be completed in late 2017, project leaders say it will create a new ‘contemporary shopping environment’ with ‘architecturally distinct districts’.
Areas To be upgraded include both levels of The Arcade, from M&S to the central dome. The extensive changes include new balustrades, and handrails, redesigned ceiling bulkheads, as well as new seating, lighting, and signs.
The works will also enable a number of retailers to install double height shop fronts.
Apprenticeship programmes offered by a number of local and national companies working on the refurbishment cover skills such as carpentry and welding.
James Stringer, aged 18, from Wisewood, was unemployed until he joined an apprenticeship programme for the Meadowhall project with specialist contractor Clear Line.
He said: “It is a privilege to be working on as big a project as the Meadowhall refurbishment. It is great to be helping to improve the centre I grew up visiting, making it even better for visitors for years to come with designs that I’ve worked on.”
Darren Pearce, director of Meadowhall, said: “We are committed to investing in work-based training and the refurbishment is the perfect opportunity for us to train the next generation. We have a number of local apprentices who have visited Meadowhall many times with family and friends and are keen to work on its transformation. We hope the skills they learn whilst working on the project stand them in good stead for their future careers.”
The whole project has created around 400 construction roles to carry out the work.