MSP MacGregor Meets Apprentices at Monklands Hospital Site

£19m theatre refurb project hosts visit from MSP and students from New College Lanarkshire.

Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor, accompanied by twelve students from New College Lanarkshire, have visited the site of the £19 million theatre refurbishment project at Monklands Hospital.

Mr MacGregor, a member of Holyrood's Education and Skills Committee, was given a tour of the project by senior members of staff from main contractor GRAHAM Construction.

He was introduced to apprentices working on the development and spoke to them about their experience and their route into the construction industry.

Liam McMillian, 24 from Motherwell, one of the apprentices who met Mr MacGregor, said: "It’s been a really interesting project to be involved with, helping me to learn about many different techniques in the industry.”

Last year the construction company launched the ‘GRAHAM Pre-Apprentice Course’, at New College Lanarkshire, giving students employability support, access to sites and regular mentoring sessions.

While delivering the project, GRAHAM Construction has also contributed to skills and employment in the wider community, creating 25 jobs in partnership with North Lanarkshire Working.

These include a number of apprenticeships in plumbing, electrical and joinery trades for local young people, supported by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). In addition, the company has sponsored a pre-apprenticeship course at New College Lanarkshire, offering five-week placements for students.

The MSP also met six GRAHAM Apprentices alongside twelve students from the college plus course lecturer Brian Biggar.

GRAHAM Construction Apprentices:

(Reiss Fleming, 17, Andrew Coyle, 22, Thomas McGoran, 19, Liam McMillan, 24, Kayleigh Murdoch, 21 and Shams Rahimi, 24)

NCL students:

(Conor Latimer, 19, Carlos Carretoro, 18, Gary Quinn, 19, Arron Wilson, 19, Christopher Allan, 18, Colum Pow, 18, Craig McFadden, 18, Sean Morrison, 25, Patrick McDonald, Raymond Stanaird, 37, Kyle Smith, 20 and Patrick McDonald,19)

Mr MacGregor said: "I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the site at Monklands and hear from both GRAHAM and New College Lanarkshire about the work going on to improve skills in the area, through apprenticeships and college courses.

"Having heard previously about the skills shortage in construction I am pleased that there is a combined effort from all stakeholders to encourage more people into construction.

"It is also encouraging to see investment at our local hospital and I look forward to seeing the results of this capital investment."

Chris Macleod, GRAHAM Construction’s Framework Director, said: “Our aim at Monklands Hospital, as well as completing the project on time and on budget for our client, NHS Lanarkshire, is to leave a legacy of apprenticeships and skilled craftsmanship within the industry, while fully supporting Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce priorities."

Phase 1 of the project, comprising a new £5.5M 10-bed intensive Care Unit, has already been handed over to NHS Lanarkshire. The company is also preparing to complete Phase 4 which involves the delivery of two new theatres.

The overall project involves a complex, 12-phase upgrade and replacement of the Surgical Department to provide seven new operating suites, including two ultra clean theatres, recovery area, reception and relatives' area.

James Mulroy, GRAHAM Construction’s Senior Project Manager added: “We’ve designed the construction programme to ensure that the local community still has full access to the hospital while building work is being carried out. While that makes the project a bit more challenging than normal, we’ve got a great deal of experience in similar developments throughout the UK."

CITB provides industry employers – including GRAHAM Construction – with funding, training and skills to support their modern apprentices.

Cat MacFarlane, CITB Advisor, said: “With over 2,000 new recruits needed each year to meet the demands of Scotland’s construction industry, it’s excellent to see so many apprentices gaining hands-on experience within this major construction project. The valuable experience that they have gained will stand them in good stead to find a rewarding career within the industry.”

The overall project is expected to be complete in spring of 2018.