First apprentice joins builders at Circus Street development

Toby McCauley at Circus Street
Toby McCauley at Circus Street

Budding electrician Toby McCauley was welcomed on site for his first day as apprentice on the U+I Circus Street development in Brighton this week.

The 16-year-old City College student from Patcham will be working on the site for two days a week, while he studies to become an electrician.

Toby McCauley, Stephen Head, Chris Sloan, James McCauley and Caesar Ajani

Toby McCauley, Stephen Head, Chris Sloan, James McCauley and Caesar Ajani

He said: “My Dad’s an electrician and I enjoy practical work, so I’ve always wanted to be an electrician. This is a really great opportunity for me – not many kids get a chance to work on such a major project and I’m excited about learning on the Circus Street site.”

More vacancies for apprenticeships will become available after Christmas according to Chris Sloan, project manager for Circus Street from Henry Construction.

Mr Sloane said: “This is just the start of our focus on employing local people. Working closely with Brighton and Hove City Council, we are trying to recruit as many local people on site as possible because it benefits everybody. We have eight jobs to recruit right now and were at Brighton and Hove Job Fair this week aiming to fill some of our vacancies – and we’ve already employed 20 local people on the site.”

Stephen Head, machine operator and Benjamin Caesar Ajani, plant operator, are among the first local people employed and current job vacancies include an undergraduate construction project manager, a trainee quantity surveyor, an undergraduate planner, machine operators and general labourers.

Karen McCormick from U+I, the developers behind the project, said: “Local involvement in the development of this regeneration project is one of the things that excites us most about Circus Street. Our local recruitment means that residents are creating the community in which they live and it is a level of investment that goes beyond financial; it is an investment in Brighton’s future.”

Construction on the Circus Street site started last month, and will see the old fruit and vegetable market developed with 142 homes, 450 student rooms, 30,000 sq ft of office space and workshops for creative startups.

The £130m project is a partnership between U+I and Brighton and Hove City Council.

British firm Henry Construction was appointed as the contractor, in part for their emphasis on offering local jobs and apprenticeships for young people on the construction.

Cllr Warren Morgan, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “It’s crucial that local people have the opportunity to work on this exciting project and it is great to see the first apprentices coming on site and learning a range of skills. This scheme is set to provide many benefits for the city’s residents, creating new homes, jobs and business spaces, alongside new community and cultural facilities.”

Developers said work on the site is progressing quiclkly, and the majority of the buildings on site will be complete in 2019.