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A 'Class Act' In South Wales

14 April 2015

Community groups around the A465 Heads of the Valleys road in South Wales are benefitting from Costain’s need for section offices along the length of the 8.1km job.

The site team has reduced the need to establish site sub-offices that require land, portable cabins, and the installation of infrastructure such as water supplies and staff car parks by renting space in a school and community hall.

The initiative is part of a major effort by the site team to minimise disruption to the local community during the three-year project.

Costain was already involved with Brynmawr Foundation School supporting a number of education business initiatives when the team realised that a couple of classrooms that had been lying empty since the school lost its sixth form some years ago could be put to good use.

Renting the classrooms provides useful income for the school as well as providing excellent chances for engagement with pupils and staff, said Senior Community Relations Officer, Brian Greaves. A separate entrance means that Costain personnel can come and go without disrupting the school’s daily activities.

A few miles down the road, the team has also moved into Clydach Village Hall. The small local community had been finding the upkeep of the hall difficult. “It wasn’t in a state of disrepair but I think the maintenance of the hall and range of activities there were pretty limited,” said Brian. “It’s not a big community and they didn’t have the income they needed to maintain it. So, when we talked about renting it, they were quite pleased.”

Costain will be in the hall for some three years. During that time they will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the building.

“OK, the community won’t have it for three years, but by the end they should have accrued quite a substantial budget. And the maintenance of the building will be with us for three years, so that pressure is off them.”

Brian and his colleague Phil Baker are also responsible for a wide range of activities with local schools. Phil, for example, is heavily involved with the BITC ‘Business Class’ initiative, which partners a comprehensive school with a business with the intention of both organisations agreeing an action plan that delivers significant benefits for both. Costain has partnered with Brynmawr Foundation School as part of the Heads of the Valleys cluster.

The team has also secured National Skills Academy status for the project through the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), which is intended to impart construction industry skills to unemployed or untrained local people.

Among the targets set by the CITB is that Costain should take on 60 apprentices over the three-year contract duration, as well as managing 160 new starters.

Both the rentals and the creation of new skills will leave a valuable legacy behind once the job is finished.





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