In light of National Apprenticeship Week, five apprentices are being praised for making a vital contribution to the £15.7 million redevelopment of Wigan Bus Station.
Transport for Greater Manchester, which is delivering the project, is keen to give young people the opportunity to gain skills and experience for their future careers and sees apprentices as a key part of the team building a new facility that will be fit for the decades ahead.
Jordan Quigley, age 19, is a technical apprentice from Hawkley Hall. He was recruited by contractor VINCI Construction UK and is one of five apprentices currently working on the bus station scheme.
He has been gaining on-site experience since November while he works towards a level 4 diploma in construction.
For Jordan, an apprenticeship was more appealing than university as it provides direct work experience. He was also concerned with the idea of student debts and the difficulty of paying them off.
He said: “Apprenticeships are an effective entry point into the workplace – you gain practical experience, which means training isn’t normally needed when you’ve completed the course and begin full-time work.
“There’s also the added bonus that you earn money while you’re learning. If you do choose to go to university in the future to gain further qualifications for a particular role, your company may agree to fund your degree so you avoid big debts.”
Jordan identifies the variety of the role as what he enjoys most: “I always knew that sitting in an office at a computer wouldn’t suit me, as I prefer to be hands-on.
“There are many jobs that need to be done on a day-to-day basis at Wigan Bus Station and no working day is the same.
“Andy Burnham recently visited Wigan to see the structural framework that forms the bus station’s skeleton – I helped the various trades to set out the steelwork for the frame.
“The next stage of the project that I’ll be working on is the construction of the roof, brickwork and glazed curtain walling.”
Commenting on the importance of apprenticeships in construction, Alex Cropper, TfGM’s Head of Projects Group, said: “Apprentices have a vital role to play in ensuring project objectives and deadlines are met.
“The Wigan Bus Station project is an exciting opportunity to gain on-the-job experience. Once complete, it will transform a key gateway into the town centre and provide much-improved facilities for passengers, including comfortable and safer waiting areas, a ticket and information outlet and retail facilities.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, added: “We’re really keen to support young talent and help to develop the necessary skills for the future workforce.
“Apprenticeships don’t just offer life-changing opportunities for young people, they also help us to deliver high-quality transport infrastructure that makes travel easier.”
Jordan’s ambition is to continue his employment with VINCI Construction UK after he completes his apprenticeship, and potentially work on overseas projects as a civil engineer.
John Roberts, VINCI Construction UK Regional Director, said: “At VINCI, we’re always looking to strengthen our workforce and our apprentices are valued members of our Wigan team.
“We’re really proud of Jordan’s and all our apprentices’ hard work and we’re confident that they have a successful career in construction ahead of them.”
Funding for the Wigan Bus Station development is being supported by central Government through the Greater Manchester Local Growth Deal Programme.
For more information on Wigan Bus Station, visit the dedicated webpage.