Seven Modern Apprentices begin careers on project

Minister for Transport and Islands Derek MacKay today welcomed seven new modern apprentices - former Northfield Academy pupils - to the longest roads construction project currently underway in the UK, the AWPR/B-T, as he officially opened the project's Contact and Education Space.

The facility at New Mains of Ury near Stonehaven is open to visitors between 9am and 5pm on weekdays and 10am and 4pm on Saturdays.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: "The opening of the AWPR Contact and Education Centre is a welcome step in the process of the building of the road.

"There has been positive education links established already through the pupils from Northfield Academy who have been taken on under the Modern Apprenticeship scheme and I'm sure they will enjoy learning and working on the UK's largest road-building project.

"The AWPR is a key piece of new roads network for Aberdeen which also includes the Third Don Crossing, the Berryden Corridor, and Dyce Park and Ride, and I'm sure people will visit the Contact and Education Centre to find out more about the road."

Mr Mackay said: "There has been an enormous amount of interest from across the north east about the AWPR/B-T and this Contact and Education Space will give local communities, residents, road users and businesses the opportunity to speak directly with the people tasked with delivering this critical infrastructure project.

"The 'Space' will provide a wealth of information about the road. For instance, you can find out about the variety of environmental mitigation techniques used across the 58km project, how we aim to keep children who live near this building site safe and how we encourage school leavers to consider careers in construction and much more.

"The AWPR/B-T is itself providing seven new modern apprentices, all from Northfield Academy, with a tremendous opportunity to be involved with such a large-scale infrastructure project so early in their careers.

"The experiences they have on this project creates an opportunity to build the leaders of the construction industry of the future. I wish them the very best of luck in their current roles and hope they take full advantage of this opportunity to make a long and rewarding career for themselves.

"The project, which is progressing well, will have a long-lasting legacy for the whole of the north east. Over the next 30 years, it will generate over £6billion in additional income by reducing costs to business, providing opportunities for increased sales and generating 14,000 jobs."

The project will also cut journey times across Aberdeen by up to half at peak periods, free up connecting roads for more public transport and improve reliability and the safety of roads.

Thomas Smith, 17, from Aberdeen, is one of the seven new apprentices.

He said: "I began thinking about a career in construction two years ago after taking part in a summer scholarship through Northfield Academy, so to be part of the construction of the AWPR/B-T is an amazing experience for me. Every day is different and there are lots of opportunities to try something new, particularly in structural engineering. We look after the construction of bridges for the project and are very busy."

Another modern apprentice, Liam Davidson, 17, also from Aberdeen, added: "I have always wanted to be in engineering due to my family being in the industry and their experiences were all good and still are. Working on the AWPR/B-T is a huge experience. The new road will make such a difference to the area and I'm really proud to be involved in its construction.

"We are helping to improve people's lives. I'm working with the traffic management team just now and it's really interesting to see first hand how much effort goes into minimising impact on the community and road users."

The other modern apprentices working on the project are Callum Williams, 16, Fraser Conway, 16, Adam Stuart, 17, David Pullam, 17, and Aaron Hunter, 16.

Also at the official opening of the Contact and Education Space were Co-Leaders for Aberdeenshire Council, Councillor Richard Thomson and Councillor Martin Kitt-Hayes.

Aberdeenshire Council Co-Leader Cllr Richard Thomson said: "The contact and education space is an important feature while this major project is progressing and I would encourage anybody who wants to find out more about the AWPR/B-T project to visit if they're in the area.

"Some of our school pupils have already had the chance to visit the centre and find out about safety on construction sites, and staff will be on-hand to answer a wide range of queries as the project develops."

Co-Leader Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes added: "With a project of this scale it's important that everybody is able to find out the details that are important to them – whether it's simply to get an overview of the aims of the project, or if they want to know exactly what's happening in their own communities.

"The contact and education space will provide an important addition to the information that people will see in the media and online, as well as along the route itself."

Contractor representative Graham Christie added: "The Construction Joint Venture welcome the new apprentices to the AWPR/B-T project and look forward to mentoring these young people over the coming years so that they gain valuable civil engineering experience and training, which will benefit them greatly in developing their future careers."

For more information on how to book events, for example for schools or colleges, at the Contact and Education Space, call 0800 058 8350.