Meet the residents helping to build Brighton’s newest neighbourhood
101 Brighton residents have been offered full or part time roles on-site at the £120 million Edward Street Quarter development as part of an ongoing social value commitment to support the local community.
All local employees, most of whom have no industry experience, will be eligible for an upskilling programme to gain formal construction qualifications such as NVQs.
Due to complete in spring next year, the new destination located on Edward Street in central Brighton will comprise six new buildings to accommodate offices, retail, hospitality and leisure facilities as well as new homes.
Florin Macu, (34) and Charlie Sole (17) are just two of the local residents currently employed on-site.
After losing his job as a taxi driver due to Covid-19, Florin spent 10 months out of work and living off his savings before being offered a role at Edward Street Quarter. He is now in his eighth month working on the development and after gaining his Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card he has been able to gain additional skills through contractor, McLaren’s, upskilling programme.
“I have been trained as a banksman, responsible for directing the cranes, and recently gained my telescopic handler operator card meaning I’m able to drive the reach forklifts. I’m hoping that in two years’ time I’ll be a qualified logistics manager – something I now feel is within reach.”
Up until this summer, apprentice Charlie had been a student at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA). He was offered a five-week work placement on the Edward Street Quarter site as part of McLaren’s Schools Gateway Programme, which identifies young people for training, work experience and employment.
His hard work was rewarded when Price Building, the mechanical contractor onsite, offered him an apprenticeship which he started in September. He commented:
“The work experience was amazing because I learned how the site operates and got to try out different roles and responsibilities.
“Now, thanks to my apprenticeship, my course work seems much easier because I’m able to relate it back to the work that I carry out on-site. I’m currently completing my L2 plumbing diploma and am hoping to progress onto a plumbing apprenticeship in the future.”
In its first full year of construction, Edward Street Quarter implemented over £9 million worth of benefits to the city through its social value action plan despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty commented:
“It’s vital that new developments in our city contribute not only towards our housing, leisure and business opportunities, but also support local employment in a meaningful way. Developers should take note of the inspiring approach taken by the Edward Street Quarter.
“There has been a concerted effort to create new jobs and training opportunities in the city – particularly around apprenticeships and support for those previously unemployed. Especially as we recover from the pandemic, initiatives that support those finding work, reskilling or training are crucial to a continued recovery. It's so inspiring to hear the stories of people who are benefitting from the Edward Street development.”
Steve Eccles, Project Director at First Base, the developer for Edward Street Quarter, said:
“In addition to other initiatives, we’re proud that much of our social value action plan’s focus has been on local employment and training. It’s been brilliant to watch the progression of each of these individuals over the lifetime of the development. Construction is a varied industry which can open doors to many different opportunities - we wish both Florin and Charlie a long and happy career ahead.”
Stephen Adams, Operations Director at McLaren, added:
“The construction industry needs a steady supply of talented people who are supported and trained to reach their potential, and I am delighted that the Edward Street Quarter project is contributing in this way.”