Morgan Sindall Construction has launched its second Knowledge Quad as part of its work on the University of Salford’s new Science, Engineering and Environment Building (SEE Building).
The Knowledge Quad is a multi-purpose training and learning facility located within a live Morgan Sindall Construction site. It delivers value by undertaking activity focusing on the four key areas of skills, education, employment and discovery.
The Knowledge Quad also creates a vital link between industry and education, ensuring that curriculums align with employer requirements and that students, trainees and apprentices at all levels are provided with the relevant knowledge and skills to help them succeed.
Morgan Sindall Construction has collaborated with the University of Salford for several years on a range of educational programmes. That relationship is now being taken to a new stage of partnership through the launch of the Knowledge Quad, its position within the SEE Building site enables the ongoing work to serve as a live textbook and to provide those who use the facility with a unique insight into how a large scale built environment project is delivered.
The new facility will initially open its doors as a soft launch offering community programmes to small groups, in line with social distancing guidelines, followed by a more extensive programme schedule as lockdown restrictions ease. The first event being held at the new facility has been led by Build Salford, a traineeship programme that enables 16-24-year olds to get takes the first steps in beginning an apprenticeship with leading construction firms.
The Knowledge Quad concept began at Morgan Sindall Construction’s £150m Paddington Village multi-project site in Liverpool City Council’s Knowledge Quarter, the scale of which enabled a substantial investment into tackling the worsening skills gap in construction and maximising the socio-economic value of the development.
Since its launch in early 2019, the Knowledge Quad has run a range of programmes that have upskilled workers in trades and sectors identified as important to the future growth of the Liverpool City Region. Other activities have included employment pathway programmes for underrepresented groups including UK veterans, pre-employment skills workshops and numerous schools, college and university engagement sessions.
To date, the Knowledge Quad in Liverpool has resulted in over 6,950 students attending engagement events, 1,442 volunteer hours donated via Morgan Sindall Construction’s staff and supply chain and over 1,900 apprentice weeks at Morgan Sindall Construction projects. As a result of its impact in Liverpool, the Knowledge Quad was awarded the Value award at the 2020 North West Regional Construction Awards.
Now, Morgan Sindall Construction is replicating the model to create a new Knowledge Quad on site at the University of Salford to help students and the local community benefit from the opportunities that the facility enables. Morgan Sindall Construction is currently delivering two projects for the University of Salford – the SEE Building and the North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC), which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Morgan Sindall Construction’s long-standing collaborative relationship with the University of Salford has involved the delivery programme of onsite work experience to undergraduates, as well as supporting PhD students by providing research opportunities within the company.
Members of the local Morgan Sindall Construction team have also undertaken regular lectures at the University as well as offering regular site visits, workshops and experience in preparing project proposals for the design, planning, costing and development of a new site to multi-disciplinary Salford students. Additionally, the company - in partnership with the University - has arranged for students to undertake activities at the Constructionarium at the Construction Industry Training Board’s Bircham Newton base in Norfolk.
The University and Morgan Sindall Construction will work collaboratively to ensure the Knowledge Quad creates pathways that are inclusive and accessible, resulting in a tangible skills boost for Salford.
Shaun Jones, Greater Manchester area director for Morgan Sindall Construction said: “For many years our industry has been battling a skills shortage, and the creation of the Knowledge Quad in Liverpool was our North West team’s way of taking action in order to help people take advantage of the many routes to a rewarding career that construction and related industries have to offer. Two years on, we’ve proven the model works. While there’s been disruption as a result of the pandemic, it has only made us more determined to use the Knowledge Quad as a means to better support the communities in which we work.
“Launching the second Knowledge Quad on site at our work at the University of Salford is a really proud moment for our team. Most importantly, it will improve the prospects of many people across Salford and Greater Manchester at time when it’s more important than ever to have access to skills and training opportunities.”
Jason Challender, director of estates and facilities, University of Salford, said: “We are delighted that the University of Salford will be home to Morgan Sindall Construction’s second Knowledge Quad facility. Providing real-life experience and opportunities for our students is central to what we do.
“The Knowledge Quad will enhance our current programmes to students and provide an opportunity to engage directly with our local communities. The facility has already been used for small group sessions with the community. Behind the scenes we are making plans for the facility to come available for wider use, in accordance with Government guidelines, later in the year.
“The facility will play an important role in our mission to Build Back Better as part of the Crescent Masterplan following the challenges presented by the pandemic. It will provide a much-needed space for the local community to upskill and receive training that can support them in growing their careers.”
Allan Milne, Head of Apprenticeships at Salford City College - which is running the Build Salford scheme in partnership with Salford City Council - said: “Morgan Sindall Construction’s new Knowledge Quad at the University of Salford is an important addition to the skills and training offering in the local area. We’ve already seen what the facility has helped achieve in Liverpool, and it’s brilliant that young people from Salford and the wider local area will now be able to benefit from the career opportunities that it will support.
“The manner in which the Knowledge Quad will help apprentices make valuable connections with potential employers is crucial – we look forward to working with Morgan Sindall Construction closely in order to help more young people achieve their potential.”
Salford City Council Chief Executive Tom Stannard said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to marry classroom and onsite learning on two prestigious projects which will support learning for decades to come. Salford’s building boom has not slowed even during the pandemic and the construction trades offer huge opportunities for local residents. I’m delighted to see Build Salford playing a key role in this scheme.”