Manchester's town hall and The Factory construction projects create social value
Manchester Town Hall (Image courtesy Manchester City Council)
The UK government has been keen during the pandemic to boost construction projects to support the economy, but what evidence is there that this is creating beneficial social value?
Manchester City Council reports that its 'Our Town Hall' project - which is repairing, partially restoring and refurbishing the Grade 1-listed Victorian landmark - is supporting jobs and businesses in the city.
Another construction project in the city - The Factory - which it says will be a remarkable new cultural venue, the biggest and most versatile anywhere in the world, is also creating economic prosperity, jobs and apprenticeships. In fact, together, it says some 115 jobs have been created across the project teams, with more than 50% of them gong to Manchester residents, with 32 new apprenticeships being given to people who live in the city. It reports that there have been 95 sessions delivered at schools to inspire children to pursue careers in the construction industry and encourage STEM subjects.
More than 1,700 Manchester - based students have benefitted from site visits, engagement at careers fairs or mentoring. Some 16 research projects based on the town hall have been completed, including work with the Manchester School of Architecture.
The combined sum of the additional 'social value' generated so far, it estimates at £5m - over the life of the project, which is due to conclude in 2024 and this is projected to be £16.5 million of extra benefit for the city.
Meanwhile The Factory project is also manufacturing opportunities as the giant venue, on part of the former ITV Granada site, takes shape.
There have been 28 construction-related apprenticeships created so far for Manchester and Greater Manchester residents with 25 more projected and 56 work placements.
The Council is working closely with construction lead Laing O'Rourke to ensure the social value targets for the projects are realigned to focus efforts on creating opportunities for the groups whose employment prospects have been most adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as young people not in education or training, those from ethnic minorities and the over-50s.
Once The Factory is open, the provision of training and skills for future generations of creative talent through The Factory Academy is central to its mission. Over the next five years The Academy's Factory Futures programme will reach as many as 10,000 young people in Manchester with support in accessing careers in the creative industries.
Below - The Factory, St.John's, Manchester (Bridge view - night CGI, from Allied London)