PlanBEE expands into Manchester

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An award-winning apprenticeship scheme developed in the North East to tackle construction skills shortages is expanding to offer career opportunities in the North West.

PlanBEE, an innovative apprenticeship programme pioneered by Gateshead College and Ryder Architecture along with a network of architects, designers, contractors and engineering specialists will now offer the same career-launching opportunities to young people across Manchester.

The college and Ryder Architecture are working with Manchester City Council and Manchester Life to deliver the PlanBEE apprenticeship programme which has been designed to attract new talent into the built environment industry.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “PlanBEE is a massive success story in the North East and we are very proud that the programme will now offer the same life-changing, career opportunities across Manchester.

“This truly is an innovative programme which brings together the very best construction businesses to provide each apprentice with a flexible range of skills and knowledge in all disciplines of building design and construction. The kind of opportunities PlanBEE offers can’t be found on any other apprenticeship anywhere else in the country.”

The PlanBEE Manchester apprentices will get the chance to earn while they learn on schemes including the Our Town Hall project to restore, repair and partially refurbish Manchester Town Hall; Manchester Life’s developments in Ancoats and The Factory arts venue.

The two-year multi-disciplined programme is designed to prepare people for careers in building design and construction with a strong emphasis on digital skills. From the moment candidates join, they are paid to train and ultimately secure a rewarding career.

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

In Manchester, the successful applicants will have the opportunity of placements with the City Council, Manchester Life, Ryder, Purcell, Ramboll, Faithful and Gould, Sisk, Turner & Townsend, Buttress and Eric Wright Construction.

On completion the apprentices will have experience of a range of disciplines including architecture, structural and building services engineering and management.

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 in the North East and we 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. It’s a perfect route into a career and rather than going to university and racking up the debts, they’re being paid a salary from the outset.

“Plus, on completion of the programme there’ll be a talent pool of fresh, multi-disciplined people for the sector.”

Councillor Bev Craig, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester City Council has long been committed to making sure that all of our residents share the city’s successes. We are determined that investments in major Manchester projects such as Our Town Hall and the Factory deliver the maximum possible benefits for our city and its residents.

“This includes opening up opportunities for people who live in the city to learn new skills and build new careers, something that’s especially important as we begin to recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope that, as well as school leavers, people who have lost employment during the pandemic and might be looking to retrain will consider applying.

"Despite the uncertainties of the pandemic we will continue to make sure investment in our city delivers for our residents.”

Applications for September 2021 are now open, and anybody interested in knowing more is recommended to join a virtual ‘Meet the Employers’ event on Thursday June 17 at 5pm before submitting an application. To register your interest please click here

Wed Jun 23 2021