Fresh start for Leeds man thanks to Morgan Sindall
After years of uncertainty, a local man from Leeds has turned his life around thanks to a joint venture between Morgan Sindall, Will Nixon Construction Group and The Prince's Trust charity.
Twenty-three year old Geoff Harrison had been unemployed and living on the streets for the past year. Working with The Prince’s Trust, Morgan Sindall has been able to offer Geoff and other members of the local community work experience opportunities whilst it constructs the £13.7 million extension to White Rose shopping centre in the Beeston area of Leeds.
Geoff was given the opportunity to undertake a position with Morgan Sindall’s subcontractor, the Will Nixon Construction Group, and spent 10 weeks working on the 65,000 sq ft leisure-extension to the popular shopping centre.
During the paid work placement he gained not only practical construction experience, but also the confidence and presentation skills to help him secure and maintain future employment with the company.
Commenting on his new role, Geoff said: “I am very grateful for being given this chance and can now look forward to the future for the first time in years. Prior to being given this role I was at times homeless – walking the streets. As a result of this opportunity, I have now got my own place, some money behind me and can start to enjoy life again.”
Morgan Sindall senior project manager, Peter Finegan, said: “Geoff is an unbelievably hard worker and he has really made the most of the opportunity – he’s impressed us all.
“Testament to how far he has come, is that alongside his job on site, he’s also been speaking to children at a local high school about the reality of crime, drugs and homelessness as part of a schools engagement programme run by Morgan Sindall.”
Lee Machin, site manager for Will Nixon Construction Group, added: “Geoff has taken his role as groundworker to another level; is extremely keen to learn and very punctual.”
Once complete it’s expected that the extension to White Rose centre will deliver an additional and much-needed 350 jobs in retail and leisure to the area. The construction process itself has generated numerous jobs, paid work experience opportunities and apprenticeships for local people. The site team marked a milestone on the project with a traditional topping out ceremony on Thursday 15 December and the extension is on course for a summer 2017 completion.
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