Monthly Archives: November 2010

Jobs galore as three new housing schemes approved in Manchester

MANCHESTER is set to be the recipient of three major regeneration projects, which will create new construction jobs in the city.

A £118 million private finance iniative in Brunswick has received government backing and will see 600 council homes modernised and a further 200 homes built. New roads, shops and a local housing office will be built under the new plans.

Manchester Council’s Executive Member for Housing, Cllr Paul Andews says these plans will transform the local area. In a statement he said, “It’s excellent news that this regeneration scheme can go ahead. This will transform the area and vastly improve the quality of life of the people who live in Brunswick.”

Other housing initiatives have also received planning permission, such as plans to improve the Pendleton area of Salford, which will see 600 new homes and 1200 council properties built at a cost of £100 million.

The Gateway to Oldham scheme, which will see 430 new homes built and 324 council homes renovated, is also going ahead. The three schemes will create hundreds of construction jobs in Manchester and those looking for plumbing, electrical and gas work will be in luck, as thousands of new homes will be built.

But the Collyhurst PFI project, which aimed to inject £252 million worth of investment into one of Manchester’s most deprived areas, is not so lucky and will not go ahead, due to a lack of funding.

What do you think about the new housing schemes in Manchester?


£10m Derby regeneration fund to create new construction jobs

DERBY City Council are unveiling a new £10 million war chest to finance construction work and create new construction jobs in the city.

Derby city council intend to regenerate the city centre with the money and create new offices, retail and leisure space in the city. The work is expected to start in Spring 2011.

Between £400,000 and £4 million is expected to be available for individual construction jobs in Derby, with the council expected to create around 500 new jobs in the city, most of which will be for local people.

The fund, which was established because of the current economic climate, is orientated towards city centre offices and mixed-use developments. Max Hall, speaking to Train4TradeSkills on behalf of Derby council, says the plans include the creation of a new city centre office market, in the hope to make the area more attractive to retail companies.

Councillor Harvey Jennings, leader of Derby City Council, told the BBC: “We understand that the market climate and the credit crunch had prevented important developments from being taken forward and we want to use the regeneration fund to help unblock this.”

What do you think of the plans to regenerate Derby city centre?

Charlie Mullins talks to Train4TradeSkills about his new plumbing talent show

The Pimlico Plumbers chief talks to Train4TradeSkills about his new show, plumbing and Lord Sugar.

Britain’s Best Young Plumber, the talent show that aims to find the best young plumber in the country, is on BBC Three tomorrow night and its chief judge, Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins, tells Train4TradeSkills what it’s all about.

The talent show puts four young plumbers through their paces and tests their skills to the extreme. Each candidate will have to endure four gruelling plumbing tasks devised by Charlie, ranging from pipe work, finding faults in a bathroom and unblocking drains, in order to win the ultimate prize of being named Young Plumber of the Year 2010.

Charlie, who is Britain’s best known and the first millionaire plumber, will act as chief judge along with Chris Young, and says the show will feature “real apprentices, doing real-world tasks”, that receive no help and have to prove their worth by depending on themselves to get the job done.

Charlie, whose clients include Daniel Craig, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley, told Train4TradeSkills that he offered the winner an apprenticeship with Pimlico Plumbers, as he was impressed with their enthusiasm and passion for the job. He obviously cannot reveal the identity of the winner yet but did admit it was a tough decision and, “was touch and go right up to the last minute.”

Charlie told us that he expects the Young Plumber of the Year show to be an annual thing, and sees no reason why it cannot compete with other talent shows. But it was Lord Alan Sugar and The Apprentice that Charlie gave a tongue-lashing to, saying his show represents real-life situations and real people. He says:

“What we need are more TV shows the put REAL apprentices on our screens rather than the pantomime of a bunch of jumped-up sales execs running round London trying to impress a Lord.”

Train4TradeSkills asked Charlie about this and he had some harsh words for Lord Sugar, saying he knows what he’s talking about: “the difference between me and Alan Sugar is that I’ve done an apprenticeship and he hasn’t.”

The BBC’s Young Plumber of the Year show is on BBC Three tomorrow night at 10:30PM

Cutting VAT would provide shot in the arm for construction industry



THE Federation of Master Builders has launched the “Cut the VAT” campaign, in a bid to boost the construction industry and reuse empty homes.

The coalition government is set to increase the rate of VAT by 2.5% to 20% in January, but the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) believe cutting the VAT would have a significant impact on the struggling construction industry and “create much needed jobs and apprenticeships for young people.”

The FMB, which is the UK building industry’s largest trade association, believe cutting taxes would be able to improve the growing housing crisis and help bring one million empty properties back into use.

There are currently five million people in Britain on social housing waiting lists and 90,000 people living in temporary accommodation.

The FMB have announced in a statement that, “house building is at its lowest level since 1924 and bringing empty homes back into use is a sensible way to meet housing needs and cutting VAT on domestic maintenance and repairs would make sure that this happens.”

The “Cut the VAT” coalition created by the FMB aims to persuade the government to reduce the amount of VAT on all maintenance and home improvement works, which they believe would give a much-needed boost to the construction industry.

FMB’s Director of External Affairs Brian Berry told Train4TradeSkills that reducing the amount of VAT would have a significant impact on the job market. Mr Berry said the FMB’s research indicated that 24,000 extra construction jobs would have been created this year if the level of VAT was reduced from the 17.5%, which is the present rate, to 5%. This would also create an extra 34,000 jobs by 2019.

If the coalition government refuses to reduce the VAT, Mr Berry believes it would “create a lot of cash in hand jobs”, where customers pay cash to avoid paying VAT. He states that it could lead to a “black market” situation, where cowboy builders would flood the market.

It’s shop, shop, shop as Preston’s Tithebarn scheme gets go-ahead

THE hugely controversial Tithebarn scheme in Preston city centre has been granted planning permission by the government.

Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has approved the plans after a five year disagreement from rival cities who opposed the scheme.

The Tithebarn scheme will involve the construction of a new bus station, cinema, offices, homes and shops in Preston City Centre and the work will cost £700 million to complete.

Firms like John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Cineworld Cinemas have already announced that they will be expanding their chains to Preston once the work is complete.

The work is expected to start in the next few years and will take between five and six years to complete.

Councillor Ken Hudson, leader of Preston City Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Government has backed Preston and given planning permission to the Tithebarn scheme.”

“The minister has clearly seen sense and on balance agreed that the development is in the best interests of Preston, Lancashire and the north-west as a whole.”

Preston County Council’s Stephen Parkinson told Train4TradeSkills that the project will create between 3,000 to 5,000 new construction jobs and most of these positions will be filled by people in the Preston area.

Preston is keen to cement its status as the third city of the North West and think the Tithebarn development can have a similar effect as the £900 million Liverpool One scheme had to Liverpool, when it was built in 2008. Mr Parkinson confirmed that the Tithebarn project is not as big as the Liverpool One, but it will “lift Preston up and into the next league”, allowing the city to compete with Manchester and Liverpool.

The Tithebarn project initially received major opposition from neighbouring towns like Blackburn and Blackpool, who believed the scheme would adversely affect the economic health of their shopping centres. There were also complaints from residents about the demolition of the Preston bus station, which protestors wanted to see converted to a listed building by English Heritage.

Salad days ahead for construction as Cucumber joins the Gherkin

PLANS for the tallest tower in Westminster have been submitted by a consortium led by two reclusive billionaire brothers.

The Reuben Brothers, David and Simon, who have an estimated fortune of £5 billion, are behind the plans, which is part of the Paddington Basin scheme, where the headquarters of major firms like Marks & Spencer and Orange are based. The building is officially known as 1 Merchant Square and will include 222 flats, a 90-room boutique hotel and a public roof bar.

The 460ft high tower is the vision of British businessmen David and Simon Reubens, who are working alongside the Jarvis Family. The tower will be situated in the Paddington Basin (what is this – three or four word description?), and has already been nicknamed the Cucumber because of its unusual design and the similarities with the vegetable.

Paddington Basin is currently undergoing a series of regeneration project and is currently the home of firms like Marks & Spencer and Orange.

The “Cucumber” tower will be 460ft high and consist of 542 new apartments, 20,000 sq m of office space and a new hotel. The work is expected to be completed by 2015 and would create new construction jobs in the area.

Charles Stuart Smith told Train4TradeSkills on behalf of European Land and stated that the tower will be an “iconic building” that would be a “gateway into London from the west”, as it would be Westminster’s tallest tower and will be a noticeable monument when you enter the west side of the city.

The tower at 1 Merchant Square has been nicknamed the “Cucumber” by the press says Kay Buxton, chief executive of Paddington Waterside Partnership, who are in charge of regenerating the Paddington Basin area. Kay says the nickname is “certainly memorable” and “gets the name of the building out there”, but admits the tower was not intended to look like a cucumber and this is purely coincidental.

The Cucumber will join the Gherkin as an odd looking tower in London. The Gherkin building, which is also known as 30 St Mary Axe, is a skyscraper in the city’s financial district and was built in 2003.

Train4TradeSkills student Amanda tells us about her Electrical Course

Amanda Shaw is on the Train4TradeSkills Electrician course, which she says is the first step in changing her life for the better.

The 33 year old started her course with T4TS in September and this marks the first in a series of blogs where Amanda will let us know what she is up to and tell us how she is getting on with her Electrical course.

Amanda says: “I am finding the study both intense and enjoyable. I have so far found my tutors to be eager to help and fast in their response. My assignments are marked and returned promptly and any course materials arrive without delay. So far, so good.”

“The study at home route can provide some obstacles, but I believe if a person is determined enough, then obstacles are possible to overcome. I for one am setting out on a journey I intend to enjoy and learn a lot from. A journey made all the more worthwhile with the help and support of both my tutors and those of you out there who never seem to tire of helping others along.”

To read the full story of what Amanda is up to, go to or follow her on Twitter @sparky_sharky10

Royal Oldham Hospital to get £32m revamp and create new trade jobs

A new £32.8 million development of Royal Oldham Hospital is set to go ahead and create new trades jobs for the people of Manchester.

CN Plus report that the project, which is a joint venture by Vinci and Sir Robert McAlpine, will see a new four-storey wing of the hospital built, as well as refurbishing work of the main hospital. The work will focus on the improving the facilities in the maternity ward, with new delivery rooms, obstetric theatres and a brand new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit part of the plans.

The development at Royal Oldham Hospital is an important one for the government and the Department of Health, as it is one of the seven schemes approved in the wake of the recent spending cuts by the coalition government. The work on the hospital also represents the largest ever outlay by the Pennine Acute Hospital’s NHS Trust.

Train4TradeSkills spoke to Vinci’s Senior Project Manager Vincent Boodeea, who said that the hospital project will create around 150 new jobs in the Manchester area, of which some of these will be subcontractor packages. Mr Boodeea also stated that they “are working with Oldham Local Authority to engage local business and people.”

This is good news for Oldham and Manchester, as not only does healthcare get improved in the region, but new trades and construction jobs are created as a result.

What do you think of the plans?

Yorkshire goes solar with new plans to get unemployed contractors back in work

National Solar have announced that they are to create new jobs in South Yorkshire, as they look to install more solar panels in the region’s homes.

Career Structure reports that National Solar, along with its sister firm A Shade Greener, is to expand its business empire in South Yorkshire and hire an additional 300 people in the New Year to cope with the extra workload it is forecasting.

The Barnsley-based company, who say they have installed around 10% of the solar panels in use around the country, have already taken on 120 new people in the last few months.

The positive news about this project is that it will give the people whose jobs have been axed due to the recession and the recent spending cuts imposed by the government. National Solar have stated that they will be interviewing local people who have been unemployed for at least three months, therefore offering people who are out of work a chance to re-enter the construction industry.

Nationwide Solar’s Russ Cowen reaffirms this, saying that, “many of those we have taken on had been made redundant from the construction industry, such as roofers and electricians.”

Solar power initiative like this are going on all over the UK, and are installed to help homeowners cut their energy bills and save money in the long run, as well as helping the environment.

What do you think of the plans – is solar power the way to go in Yorkshire?

Leeds Arena plans to go ahead and create new jobs

Leeds City Council have granted planning permission for a new £60 million Leeds Arena project, which will create new trades and construction jobs in the city.

CN Plus reports that the 13,500- capacity Leeds Arena was given the go-ahead last week and the project is already well under way, with the excavations of the site now complete, hoardings are up and now the building’s external design has been finalised. The construction work on the arena is set to start early next year and will be completed in late 2012.

The work will also see the Woodhouse Lane multi-storey car park constructed, which will be used for the visitors to the Leeds Arena. Councillor Richard Lewis, who is behind the initiative, says:

“In these difficult economic times the Leeds Arena project will boost the construction industry and bring jobs, training opportunities and economic investment to the city.”

“It will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the northern quarter of the city centre and landowners are now starting to bring forward proposals to take advantage of the economic opportunities arising from scheme.”

The Leeds Arena, when built, will be the first arena to be built in Leeds and will be used to hold major sporting and music events, similar to London’s O2 and Birmingham’s NEC arenas.

What do you think about the Leeds Arena – will it have a positive effect on the city?