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PlanBEE Manchester builds on success of innovative North East construction skills programme

ByGateshead College

Nov 22, 2021

A powerful industry-led consortium in Manchester is looking to build on the success of an award-winning higher apprenticeship scheme developed in Newcastle to create skilled jobs in the construction sector.

Manchester City Council and Manchester Life have joined forces with Newcastle-based Ryder Architecture and Gateshead College to launch the PlanBEE scheme specifically for the north west, to attract new talent into the construction industry.

Ryder and Gateshead College founded PlanBEE in 2016 and it is now a nationally award-winning programme with 94 percent of graduates securing a job in the sector or progressing to a higher level of study. In the north east apprentices rotate around employers including Ryder,Tolent, Bowmer & Kirkland, Sir Robert McAlpine and Cundall.

The successful candidates in Manchester will be employed to learn on the job and be taught multiple disciplines within the sector, including architecture, structural and building services engineering,  cost management and construction on prestigious projects such as the restoration and refurbishment of Manchester’s Grade I-listed Town Hall.

They’ll be working for employers including Manchester City Council, Manchester Life, Purcell, Ramboll, Faithful and Gould, Sisk, Turner & Townsend, Buttress and Eric Wright Construction.

PlanBEE Manchester combines two successful programmes ensuring the continuity of the Manchester Life and Manchester City Council apprentice scheme M-Futures which commenced in 2015 whilst leveraging the success of PlanBEE.

Ryder Architecture – working across the UK and overseas – identified a skills and talent gap in their industry a decade ago and wanted to develop a programme that would better prepare young people in a broader range of technical and professional skills for the sector.

Mark Thompson, managing partner at Ryder Architecture, said: “For too long training programmes have been unfit for purpose and this has contributed to the skills shortages that the industry has been battling to overcome for years.

“Working with Gateshead College we have enjoyed fantastic success and believe PlanBEE Manchester is a win-win opportunity for all involved.

“By combining PlanBEE with the great work already being done in Manchester through M-Futures, we’ll be giving the successful applicants the skills and experience with leading companies in the built environment. On completion there’ll be a talent pool of fresh, multi-disciplined people for the sector.”

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the PlanBEE Manchester scheme. Based on the experience and success we have gleaned from the North East we know this programme works and can add real value to employers while also creating great new opportunities for young people across Manchester.

“PlanBEE breaks the traditional silo culture within many professional disciplines and encourages greater collaboration across disciplines which many employers in the construction industry want to see.”

Recruitment for the two-year programme is underway with anybody living in a Manchester City Council postcode area, aged over 18 with a passion for design, construction, and leadership eligible.

Anyone interested in finding our more about being involved in PlanBEE can find out more by contacting steve.logan@gateshead.ac.uk.