MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS SET TO PROVIDE VITAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Mark Wade, director at Hays Recruitment, examines how the progression of a number of key infrastructure projects will provide a welcome boost to the Northern Ireland economy in the coming years.
There is no doubt that the construction sector has an important role to play in leading the country out of the recession that has followed the coronavirus pandemic.
While hospitality, leisure, retail and tourism have borne the immediate brunt of the lockdown, the long term impact will be widely felt across all sectors.
The attention of the Prime Minister and our local government has rightly turned to how to continue to progress with major infrastructure projects in the knowledge that they will provide vital employment opportunities. The UK government has confirmed £900m for ‘shovel-ready’ projects with a stimulus package which will include £360m for new homes.
One organisation which is progressing with an extensive portfolio of plans in Northern Ireland is Translink. The Belfast Transport Hub, which was approved in March 2019, will see the redevelopment of the Europa Bus Centre, Great Victoria Street Railway Station and the surrounding 20 acres of land at Grosvenor Road. The NI Transport Holding Company (NITHC) is developing a station concourse, 26 bus stands, eight railway platforms, bus maintenance and parking, car parking and a new public square.
Graham Construction were awarded the £20m Transport Hub enabling works contract in November 2019. These are scheduled to complete during early 2021 with the main build phase expected to commence in 2021.
Work is also being completed on the North-West Transport Hub in Derry-Londonderry, which includes additional park and ride capacity, public realm work and a bus turning circle. The Hub is a major scheme that will be a key portal for the North-West region, supporting business, leisure and tourism opportunities, as well as acting as a vital community space for everyone in the city.
Plans are in place too for major renewals of Northern Ireland’s railway infrastructure and new stations for Lurgan, Yorkgate and Ballymena.
Overseeing this activity is John Glass, director of infrastructure and project delivery at Translink. He said:
“Coming out of the pandemic we need to see money being spent on infrastructure to ensure the quick stimulus of the economy and it is encouraging that we have seen early commitments that recognise this. We have already had two years without an executive, so now we have to see strategic decision making on key projects. The Green Agenda needs to be at the forefront of these decisions if Northern Ireland is to reach its Carbon Zero goal by 2050.”
The Belfast Transport Hub will see 400 construction jobs being created on site, with engagement taking place to provide opportunities for long term unemployed people.
There are a number of roles currently open with Translink’s project team across different levels, including project managers, quantity surveyors, commercial managers and BIM managers. Hays is working with Translink to recruit for these positions. Each role will offer the chance to learn client side from some of the largest and most complex projects taking place here at the moment. There is no travel outside Northern Ireland, a big plus for many who are striving for a work life balance, and there is the additional perk of free public transport for employees and their families.
As chairman of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) John knows what is needed for the future of infrastructure in Northern Ireland.
“Our latest policy paper, which was presented to the Northern Ireland Executive, calls for the establishment of an independent infrastructure body which provides expert guidance on the requirements for Northern Ireland in the long term. We need to be looking ahead to the next 20 or 30 years and asking the questions of; How will we travel? What are the energy requirements? And making sure that there is a co-ordinated plan across roads, transport, energy, waste, connectivity so that everything is aligned and working together.”
Now more than ever before there will be a reliance on the resilience and the innovation of the construction sector. At Hays we will continue to support our clients as they work through these challenging times, and we look forward to watching Translink’s exciting projects take shape.
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