jan telensky

VIDEO: May 2017 Collingdon Street

A GROUP of construction students have completed work on an abandoned Luton hat factory under a revolutionary training scheme backed by celebrity builder Tommy Walsh.

Floating your boaters as trades students rebuild town’s hat history

A GROUP of construction students have completed work on an abandoned Luton hat factory   under a revolutionary training scheme backed by celebrity builder Tommy Walsh.

Engineering Real Results, the largest trades training organisation in the UK, has spent months buying up neglected and derelict properties in various parts of the UK in a multi-million pound move which gives young tradespeople a way round restrictive Government legislation which forces apprentices to beg for unpaid work for decades.

The scheme allows students to comply with Government rules which demand apprentices carry out 100 hours practical training. The rule has forced apprentices onto the streets begging for unpaid work for decades.

Now they can complete their qualifications in weeks rather than years.

Tommy told the crowd at the launch: “We are witnessing the making of history here … an organisation which is actually doing all it can to get people qualified, competent and ultimately into a job which will give them a better life.”

The project included   an old hat factory on Collingdon Street, Luton, which has been renovated and is used for student accommodation for the school.

Between 1750 and the year 2000 Luton was the hat boom-town of the UK and was famous for its straw hats and boaters.  Some of the most famous hatters, including SG Parker and Vyse, were based in Collingdon Street because of its closeness to Victorian road and rail systems.

Many houses made into hat factories have two large rooms built on at the back. In the ground floor room heavy work like blocking and stiffening was done. The room above was used for sewing the hats. These were still being built as late as the early 1900s. Children and adults sweated in the factories for 12 hours a day earning as little as three shillings a week.

The town was still producing as many as 70 million hats a year in the 1930s

Dr Jan Telensky, the financial angel behind the scheme said: “Life was hard in Victorian times in Luton but the hat industry really put the town on the map, there were plenty of raw materials for plaiting and the new Midlands Railway in the mid-19th century was a boon.

“I came to Luton in the late Sixties and I remember the wonder I felt at this grand old town with its dark imposing buildings, I was also fascinated by the number of terraced houses with  these large rooms almost hidden at the back, that’s when I discovered the history of hat-making here.”

Ground Force star Tommy said: “The Government’s commitment to building hundreds of thousands of homes is threatened by skill shortages.  Britain has plenty of young people ready to build a new life for  their families by learning a trade but they come up against a brick wall  when it comes to completing their skills-set – they need practical experience to prove they can do the job and they find it very difficult to get.”

Dr Telensky said there have been thousands of new construction jobs this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets – but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because of the legislation.

He said: “Our own students were losing out. This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country and enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks instead of years.”

The company has also been buying properties in Watford, Cardiff, Southampton, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Livingstone, West Lothian, Cardiff, Basildon and Wolverhampton.

Mike Head, a spokesman for Brighter Homes, part of the Engineering Real Results organisation, set up to supply practical training for students, said: “We are committed to getting students into work and if we can help them get onto the housing ladder too that would be brilliant.”

And work was completed on the first of the properties, the controversial Grange Hotel on the Great Northern Road, Dunstable, as students set about the first stage of turning the gloomy old late Victorian coaching house into six affordable flats for young people.

For more than a decade people living near the Grange which had fallen into a near derelict state since it finally closing its doors in 2000 have been complaining but now it is welcomed as major improvement to the bustling Gt North Road.

Paul Senior, chairman of the National Federation of Builders, also backed the scheme, saying: “Anything to provide training and experience to young construction students is a very good thing.   The industry is very dependent on up-to-date skills and experience and we welcome innovative solutions such as Engineering Real Results.”

TV builder backs scheme to aid the Trades

Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh has welcomed a one-stop-shop to get building trade apprentices blocked from jobs by ‘out-dated’ Government rules into work within weeks rather than years.

The Ground Force star is supporting the pioneering scheme by a Wolverhampton trades school which is also rescuing Britain’s derelict housing stock.

Tommy, aged 57, said: “The Government’s commitment to building 200,000 homes is threatened by skill shortages. But this one-stop-shop idea is exactly what the industry and the economy needs.”

There have been thousands of new construction jobs in the UK this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets – but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because legislation demands that they have 100 hours unpaid practical experience.

Dr Jan Telensky, whose company Engineering Real Results came up with a practical way round the rules, said: “Over the past few years there has been a massive influx of trades people and labourers from the EU, many who are well trained and with excellent skills. They have been able to find work while our own apprentices have been losing out because of the legislation.

“This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country which are either derelict or fallen into disrepair, enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks, instead of years.”

Tommy backed Dr Telensky, whose European-wide business empire is based in Luton, Bedfordshire. He said: “We have plenty of young people ready to build a new life for their families by learning a trade. But they come up against a brick wall because of a lack experience on site.”

The legislation forces newly-qualified tradesman to go cap-in-hand to small builders and beg for unpaid work but they are refused because of complications over insurance.

Engineering Real Results – which was involved in the restoration of an historic factory in All Saints, Wolverhampton – has been buying old houses and flats across the country and now gets students to renovate them which fulfils the demands of the legislation.

Paul Senior, chairman of the National Federation of Builders, also backed the scheme, saying: “Anything to provide training and experience to young construction students is a very good thing. The industry is very dependent on up-to-date skills and experience and we welcome innovative solutions such as Engineering Real Results, but it needs to be sustainable to meet the growing demand for student work placements.”

Courtesy Express & Star

Dr Jan Telensky welcomes Manchester United Youth 2013

Construction Industry Jobs and News from the UK

Skanska wins building job on £1bn Cambridge housing site

The University of Cambridge has awarded Skanska a £1.5 million contract, to undertake enabling works for its development at North West Cambridge that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

Covering 150 hectares, the £1 billion North West Cambridge development will combine residential housing, academic and research facilities, a local centre and public amenities that will energise the local economy.

The Skanska contract involves earthworks, drainage, building roads and a temporary junction and installing a 4.5km security fence.

The development includes substantial investment in new publicly accessible parkland, sports pitches and open spaces.

Gavin Heaphy, construction director of the development said: “Skanska’s appointment as Principal Contractor of this £1.5 million contract marks an important milestone in the operational delivery phase of the North West Cambridge development.”

Skanska’s managing director, Deirdre Murphy, commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for Skanska and it’s great to be involved in the early stages of this huge development. I hope this leads to future projects for the rest of Skanska UK.”

The works will start immediately and should be complete at the end of January 2014.

Future plans for Gloucestershire College new campus revealed

Gloucestershire College has unveiled building plans for its proposed new campus in Cinderford’s Northern Quarter in the Forest of Dean.

Construction work on the £14 million campus is set to begin in Spring 2014 and scheduled to be completed by August 2015.

The regeneration project will be jointly developed and run by Gloucestershire College and Dene Magna School, providing a new centre for further education and creating new jobs in the trades.

The 7,200 sq m site would be built to high energy efficient standards and will feature large panels of glazing which have been included to maximise the views over the adjacent lakes and surrounding forest, as well providing high levels of natural daylight and the opportunity to put teaching and learning on display externally.

Matthew Burgess, Gloucestershire College Principal and Chief Executive said: “I am really excited to see the plans progressing to develop a new college in the Forest of Dean giving the community there the education facility it deserves. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point so it’s great to reach this stage.”

The plans are supported by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), who are working with the college and its partners to bring forward the education-led Northern Quarter project.

David Warburton, HCA Head of Area, said: “It’s great to see plans forming for an exciting new college development for the Forest of Dean. This is a positive step towards bringing new facilities, investment and opportunities to the district.”

Steve Brady, Headteacher at Dene Magna said: “The journey to this point has been exhilarating for all parties and we are excited about realising our dreams and ensuring that we are part of the very best Sixth Form provision for the area. The future is certainly bright and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Balfour Beatty wins £40m helicopter bases contract

Balfour Beatty has been appointed by Bristow Helicopters Ltd as its infrastructure delivery partner to support the development of its UK Search and Rescue service.

Balfour Beatty will now begin outsourcing various aspects of the £40 million job to local contractors in the communities in which the bases will be established.

Balfour Beatty will be responsible for delivering infrastructure projects at nine sites across the UK between 2014 and 2017 including the construction of seven new build search and rescue helicopter bases.

The new bases will be located in Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, St Athan, Humberside and Newquay, and the refurbishment of an existing facility in Stornoway.

The ninth SAR helicopter base which will be used by Bristow to deliver the contract is an existing Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) facility at Lee-on-Solent and a final tenth base shall be an existing Bristow facility at Sumburgh.

At the forefront of sustainability, the new helicopter bases include a raft of environmental technologies including PV solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems.

Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters Ltd, Mike Imlach said: “We were impressed with the extensive experience and professionalism displayed by the team at Balfour Beatty and have absolute faith in their ability to deliver on this important project.

“We remain committed to involving local contractors in the establishment of the new SAR bases and look forward to seeing these contracts signed in the coming months.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty Delivery Unit Managing Director, said: “We will use our extensive experience of airport construction work to deliver these projects which are vital to the ongoing success of this emergency service throughout the UK. We look forward to working with our local suppliers to provide facilities that fulfil our customer’s expectations.”

Crossrail’s Farringdon development gets the go-ahead

Crossrail and development partner Cardinal Lysander have received planning approval from the London Borough of Islington for an over-site development at Farringdon Crossrail station.

The 207,000 sq ft development, located at the corner of Cowcross Street and Farringdon Road, will comprise sixstoreys of high-quality office space, with retail units at street level. The building has been carefully designed to integrate with Crossrail’s operating station and will also improve local views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Ian Lindsay, Crossrail Land and Property Director said: “By 2018 Farringdon will be one of Britain’s busiest rail stations, connecting Crossrail, Thameslink and London Underground services. The developments will accelerate the area’s regeneration, helping Farringdon re-emerge as a destination in its own right.”

Charles Pinchbeck of Jones Lang LaSalle, development managers for Cardinal Lysander said: “Cardinal Lysander firmly believes in the future of Farringdon as one of London’s premier business districts. The scheme prepared with Crossrail and other stakeholders is well-placed to capture Farringdon’s potential.”

Farringdon is at the heart of the Crossrail route and will be a key link in bringing passengers directly from within Greater London and beyond to the business hubs in the City and Canary Wharf. When complete, over 140 trains per hour will flow through the Farringdon interchange.

Farringdon Crossrail station will comprise two platform tunnels, each the length of two football pitches, linking two new ticket halls, and will be fully accessible from street to train.

The western ticket, hall shared with Thameslink services, will have an entrance on Cowcross Street, directly opposite Farringdon Tube station.

The eastern ticket hall will have entrances at the Long Lane end of the station, on Lindsey Street and Hayne Street.  It will also link directly with the existing London Underground platforms at Barbican station.

The Cowcross Street scheme is one of two over-station developments planned in the Farringdon area. In June, Crossrail submitted plans for a significant new commercial development at Lindsey Street to sit above the new Crossrail station eastern ticket hall, opposite the historic Smithfield Market.

The over-site developments are scheduled to commence during the latter stages of work to construct Farringdon Crossrail station. Crossrail will commence services in 2018.

A total of 3 million square feet of development space is planned above Crossrail stations, helping create new business space, jobs and new homes for Londoners. The scale of Crossrail’s property plans are detailed in the Driving London Development brochure which also outlines the significant development and investment opportunities at London sites.

Scottish tidal industry gets a major boost

Development of the largest tidal array in Europe has today been given the go-ahead after Scottish Ministers awarded consent to build the first tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth.

MeyGen Limited, a competitor in the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize, has been given the go ahead to install the tidal array in stages, beginning with a nine megawatt demonstration project of up to six turbines.

MeyGen plans to build an initial demonstration array of up to 6 turbines, with construction starting in early 2014 and turbines commissioned in 2015. This initial array will provide valuable environmental data for the subsequent phases and the wider tidal energy industry.

Ed Rollings, Environment & Consents Manager of MeyGen, said: “The award of this consent is the culmination of over 4 years of environmental work and extensive consultation with stakeholders and the local community in Caithness.

“The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters region is an internationally important area for wildlife and we are committed to continuing research with interested parties to ensure that the exploitation of this clean, predictable and sustainable energy resource is done so in a manner that does not have a detrimental effect on the species and habitats in the area.”

Ahead of the Scottish Renewables Marine Conference, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Today, we have granted consent to MeyGen Limited to develop the largest tidal turbine array in Europe and the first commercial project off these shores.

“This is a major step forward for Scotland’s marine renewable energy industry. When fully operational, the 86 megawatt array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes – around 40 per cent of homes in the Highlands.

“This exciting development in the waters around Orkney is just the first phase for a site that could eventually yield up 398 megawatts.”

Altrincham £70m regeneration plan gets the go-ahead

A £70 million building scheme to regenerate Altrincham town centre in Greater Manchester and pave the way for new jobs in the construction trades has been approved.

The Altair scheme will also see the building of 150 new apartments and townhouses with Nikal reporting interest already expressed by local first time buyers and downsizers.

The planning application on the 4.5 acre site will look to provide a new leisure centre and a range of restaurants, coffee shops and cafes aimed at local residents, whilst also attracting visitors from the wider Cheshire and Manchester areas.

The existing ice rink will remain in its current position and be extended to incorporate a new tenpin bowling alley.

Nick Payne, managing director of developers Nikal, said: “We’ve had a vision to regenerate this brownfield site for many years and it’s tremendously exciting to be taking the next steps with the support of the council.

“It’s a promising time for Altrincham; the refurbishment of the interchange is under way, there are new plans to revitalise the marketplace and now Altair.

“All these schemes will help rejuvenate the town and bring people and trade back into the area, as well as creating new jobs.”

Trafford Council Leader and Chair of Altrincham Forward, Councillor Matt Colledge said: “I am excited by the refreshed plans for Altair and the positive effect it will have on the town as a whole.

“A considerable effort has been made by Nikal and my officers to regain momentum on the scheme despite a challenging economic climate. This scheme is now more refined, and crucially deliverable, and in my view is a huge step forward in the rejuvenation of Altrincham.

“It now offers a very complementary approach to the town centre, with the mix of leisure uses and cafes bringing a much needed vibrancy to the area and will attract families to spend more time not just within Altair itself but across the town centre generally.”

Government funding set to boost the West Midlands economy

New scheme highlighting the national Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) and the creation of thousands of new jobs in the trades is set to be published next week.

The report will be presented by Birmingham City Council, which is the accountable body of the programme, and will progress to Cabinet on Monday 16 September.

Cllr Tahir Ali, cabinet member for Development, Jobs and Skills, said: “I am very pleased that the team at Birmingham City Council has shown they have the necessary experience to administer and manage £245 million of national AMSCI funding.

“This funding will create and safeguard thousands of jobs nationally and 1,000 across the region in the automotive and aerospace supply chain.

“It will give a real boost to the local and regional economy, supporting local companies who are at the top of their industries and eager to expand and will create lots of new, highly skilled jobs.”

Balfour Beatty gets £24m power line contract in Scotland

Balfour Beatty has been awarded a £22 million contract with SSE to construct a replacement overhead electricity line in the North of Scotland.

The project involves the construction of a 132kV power line connecting substations at Beauly and Mossford in the Highlands. The 26km route will replace two existing lines, which the firm will dismantle as part of the programme of works.

Access and building construction works have begun in August and the project is expected to be complete in 2015.

The replacement of the existing Beauly to Mossford line is a part of ongoing investment in the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland.  The growth of renewable generation has been significant in recent years and is driving the need for transmission reinforcement.

Neil Kirkby, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty – Power Transmission & Distribution, said:
“Power is an important strategic market for Balfour Beatty, both in the UK and internationally and we are delighted to be continuing our relationship with SHE Transmission through this important infrastructure project.

“Scotland offers many unique challenges to our operations, including inhospitable terrain, unpredictable weather conditions and sensitive environments. Our teams have a wealth of experience of working within these constraints whilst delivering other power projects in the area, and lessons learnt from these operations will be key in the successful completion of the Beauly to Mossford line.”

The new contract is one of several major power infrastructure projects being carried out by Balfour Beatty’s Power Transmission & Distribution team in Scotland.

Preston City Deal to create thousands of new jobs and homes

A historic City Deal for Preston and Lancashire has been signed today, supporting the building of 17,420 new homes and £1 billion economic growth over the next 10 years.

The new deal is set to represent one of the most important economic centres outside London. It is forecast that more than 20,000 new jobs will be created – including 5,000 jobs on the Lancashire Enterprise Zone.

The Preston and Lancashire City Deal sets out a detailed plan which will support the building engineering industry and people working in the trades.

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “It is superb news for Lancashire we have successfully reached agreement on the Preston and Lancashire City Deal.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity that will enable Preston, and indeed Lancashire as a whole, to reach its full economic potential.

“The City Deal gives us the certainty to plan for the future. It is on a vast scale and forms the basis for major investment in transport and housing. It complements our existing work to create jobs and apprenticeships and will provide the ideal conditions for companies to invest and create employment.”

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the private and public sector partnership that provides strategic leadership for the county’s economy, will be responsible for ensuring that the City Deal is delivered.

Local Growth Minister, Mark Prisk said: “This government is committed to helping grow local economies and that’s why we are supporting those cities that want their own powers to deliver prosperity.

“This deal will give Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire the means to build 17,000 new homes and create local jobs by investing in their Enterprise Zone so they can successfully attract new businesses to the area.”

New Housing Development for Alva

Planning permission for 48 socially rented homes to be built on the site of the former Alva Academy has been granted, paving the way for building work to get underway.

Clackmannanshire Council has taken action to stimulate the local economy including marketing the development of the former Alva Academy site in Queen Street.

This led to developer Tigh Grian Limited buying the land from the Council after securing £2.2 million-worth of Scottish Government funding through the Greener Homes Innovation Scheme.

Housing, Health and Care Convenor Councillor Les Sharp said: “I’m delighted that this housing development has been given the go ahead. In the long term it will assist both the economic development and regeneration of the town of Alva and the wider area of Clackmannanshire. Our support for this development demonstrates our commitment to increasing the number of houses available for rent in our communities.”

Tigh Grian Limited are keen to roll-out the environmentally innovative technology and construction methods in delivering a larger affordable social housing project in partnership with a Link and Paragon Housing Associations in Alva.

The development will consist of 16 one-bedroomed cottage flats, 24 two-bedroomed houses and 8 three bedroomed houses.

Enterprise and Environment Convenor Councillor Donald Balsillie said: “I’m particularly pleased that these will be energy efficient, affordable housing, using modern methods of off site construction.

“As well as bringing additional funding into Clackmannanshire to provide an extra 48 social rented homes, it will help develop knowledge and experience to reduce fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions in the future.”

The committee heard that a footpath between Courthill and Duke Street is to be re-routed through the housing development. The report also pointed out that the number of parking spaces provided is in excess of that required for low cost housing.