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Balfour Beatty joins with Flannery to launch best-in-class ‘Operator Skills Hub’

Balfour Beatty Flannery, a partnership between Balfour Beatty and Flannery Plant Hire, today launches its Operator Skills Hub - a purpose-built facility in Birmingham offering innovative training programmes to inspire young people and upskill current plant operators in the UK.

With the construction and infrastructure industry rapidly scaling up to deliver some of the most ambitious schemes in history, the Operator Skills Hub is set to deliver the first Trailblazer Plant Operative Apprentices in 2021, aiming to support 30 young people in its first year. The facility will also increase the retention of skilled operators, providing 200 supplementary courses to enhance existing knowledge and train over 500 operators in readiness for HS2. Key in addressing the construction and infrastructure sectors significant skills shortage, the facility will utilise state-of-the-art training simulators as well as the latest semi-autonomous vehicles to prepare plant operators and apprentices for the modern-day, digitally-enabled construction site. Andy Ormerod, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s Plant and Fleet Services business, said: “With real and growing skills shortages across our industry, inspiring young people has never been more important. Our new Operator Skills Hub provides a unique offering - one that will revolutionise the way in which we upskill plant operators and equip them with modern, digitally enhanced tools to support a safer, more productive construction and infrastructure industry. “Over the last year, we have been proud to partner with Flannery and collaborate with our peers, valued supply chain partners and local communities in order to create this truly immersive and exciting educational experience; providing a central resource to benefit major construction and infrastructure projects, such as HS2.” Patrick Flannery, Managing Director Flannery Plant Hire explained: “As one of the largest providers of operated plant in the UK it is imperative that we are able to provide a consistent, quality training experience for operators. It is clear that as the industry continues to adopt and drive innovation, we have to engage operators, helping to retain our industries best talent and ensuring they have the tools to deliver value on-site. “This purpose-built facility reflects our vibrant and evolving industry and seeing the first intake of the new Trailblazer Plant Operator Apprentices starting their careers here is hugely exciting.” Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd said: “As one of our key construction partners on Phase One of HS2, Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) expects to be one of the biggest recruiters in the West Midlands and Warwickshire over the next two years, with up to 7,000 skilled jobs required to complete its section of the HS2 route. These jobs emphasise the importance that HS2 is playing in Britain’s economic recovery from Covid-19. “The Operator Skills Hub will play a vital role in ensuring local people have the opportunity to upskill in readiness for these employment opportunities on Britain’s new railway.” Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It’s brilliant that the Operator Skills Hub is now coming to fruition, enabling local people to gain the specific skills needed for new construction projects in the future. With major projects like HS2 getting underway in the region, it’s fantastic that dozens of apprentices will be coming through the hub this year, together with more than 200 people who will be benefiting from other training opportunities. “This offers a great opportunity for young people and adults to gain practical training to start a new career in construction at a time when so many are looking for a route back into work. I’d like to thank Flannery Plant Hire and Balfour Beatty for their investment in the region, which will unquestionably help to get more people into work with improved skills.”

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