MSP hears of construction career opportunities at Blindwells visit

TO mark Scottish Careers Week, one MSP is supporting opportunities in the built environment after visiting a major mixed-use development in East Lothian.

Martin Whitfield MSP, a former primary school teacher and Labour MSP for South Scotland, visited Blindwells, where 1,600 new homes will be built along with education and healthcare services, landscaped open spaces, and retail and leisure facilities.

Organised by The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the visit highlighted to Mr Whitfield – the shadow minister for children and young people, lifelong learning and youth employment – the opportunities available in construction and the skills required to help the industry’s growth and productivity.

More than 200 new homes are currently under development at Blindwells, with Persimmon due to start work on a further 197 early in 2022. Five acres of land was recently launched by Hargreaves Land for exclusive use by businesses seeking new commercial property opportunities.

Iain Slater, development and estates director at Hargreaves Land, the development company behind the Blindwells scheme, said, “Ahead of the first residents moving into Blindwells in the weeks ahead, our team has been hard at work applying impeccable standards in building a town that will be a relaxing yet vibrant part of the East Lothian landscape, an endeavour that requires a huge range of skills – skills that require investment.

“It was an honour for myself and development director Bruce Lindsay, to show Mr Whitfield our progress in making a modern and sustainable urban environment in which families and businesses can thrive.”

Barry Dawson, CITB Scotland’s customer engagement manager, was also present. He added, “The Scottish construction industry requires a skilled workforce. Our latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecast shows that more than 5,200 new employees a year are required in the Scottish industry. This presents a real opportunity for anyone considering construction as a career choice.

“Construction is building its way back to full strength after the pandemic and it is important that apprentices are recognised as a vital part of the recovery and the talent of the future.”

Martin Whitfield MSP commented, “I’m pleased to see that Blindwells is now making real progress and helping to create new job and apprenticeship opportunities for young people. With hundreds of houses and new public infrastructure being built at the development over the coming years, the site will offer a wide range of ways to build a career in construction. I welcome these new skilled jobs and look forward to seeing many more local young people forging a career in the industry in the future.”