The Mersey Gateway Project

Local apprentices recruited for Mersey Gateway Project

September 5, 2014LornaNews

Four local people from Halton have secured employment after taking part in training courses developed by Merseylink and Halton Employment Partnership.

Merseylink apprentices Ryan Lee and Steve Savage

Merseylink apprentices Ryan Lee and Steve Savage

The four local residents have been offered paid apprenticeships – two with Merseylink and two with its subcontractor Lafarge Tarmac – after completing the construction consortium’s pre-employment programme.

Bridge-builder Merseylink expects to recruit around 25 apprentices to work on the iconic Mersey Gateway Project, in areas such as office-based administration, accountancy, IT, construction and general trades. They will complement the hundreds of permanent full-time jobs, which will be created during the three-and-a-half year construction project.

New recruits, Rebecca Cooke from Runcorn, and Lyndsey Carlile from Widnes, have joined Merseylink as business administration apprentices. They will learn on-the-job, providing administrative support to the project team, and will spend one day a week training at Riverside College in Widnes.

Merseylink apprentices Rebecca Cooke and Lyndsey Carlile

Merseylink apprentices Rebecca Cooke and Lyndsey Carlile

Lafarge Tarmac, which is providing traffic management services for Merseylink, has appointed Ryan Lee and Steve Savage to its 12-month trainee traffic management programme.

The Runcorn duo will get to grips with putting temporary traffic management systems in place for the Mersey Gateway Project. This involves managing lane and road closures as public roads and highways are upgraded to improve traffic flow in readiness for the new bridge.

Paul Fleetham, Managing Director for Lafarge Tarmac Contracting, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ryan and Steven as traffic management apprentices onto our team on the Mersey Gateway Project. It’s part of our commitment at Lafarge Tarmac to provide youngsters with opportunities to kick-start successful careers in construction and create a lasting skills legacy for the UK. As such, we will be recruiting up to 60 apprentices and 30 graduates every year across the country.

“Merseylink and Halton Employment Partnership’s excellent pre-employment training scheme gave these apprentices a solid foundation, and provided some outstanding candidates for us to choose from. If fact, the calibre was so high that we were able to offer an additional trainee position in a different region. We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with Merseylink and Halton Employment Partnership, and taking on more apprentices as the project develops.”

The Merseylink pre-employment training programme is designed to provide local people with the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they need for employment

It was developed by Merseylink with Halton Employment Partnership and has been accredited by Halton Borough Council. Merseylink and Lafarge Tarmac have both provided specialist input for the syllabus content, and delivered a number of lectures and presentations.

The programme enables participants to improve their CVs, interview skills and confidence levels, and focuses on specific areas of work; in this case business administration and traffic management. There is the added incentive of participants being able to apply for an apprenticeship at the end of each course.

Twenty local people completed the pre-employment courses – one for business administration and one for traffic management – that ran for four weeks in June. On completion, all of the participants applied for the four apprenticeship places on offer.

Hugh O’Connor, General Manager for the Merseylink Consortium, said: “The Merseylink pre-employment programme, developed with our partners at Halton Employment Partnership, illustrates our commitment to provide the local community with access to vital training opportunities. It is aimed at helping people to improve their skills and, ultimately, to achieve employment.

“We are delighted to welcome our new apprentices, Rebecca and Lyndsey, to the team. They will gain the invaluable experience of working on a challenging construction project, learning from experienced professionals along the way.”

Cllr Rob Polhill, leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “It’s great to see local people securing employment with the Mersey Gateway Project. It’s a reminder of how this important construction project – one of the biggest in the UK – can be a catalyst for job creation in our region. As construction steps up there will be many more high quality opportunities in lots of different areas of employment.”

Merseylink has made a commitment to run four pre-employment training courses each year from 2014 until the bridge is completed in 2017. Two further training courses in general construction will take place later this year.

For more information about apprenticeships or the pre-employment programme, email

The economic, transport and social benefits that the project will bring to the region include:

  • 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
  • 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
  • £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.

When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free* to all Halton residents.

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