BESA members step in to rescue Vaughan apprentices
Fellow members of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) in Scotland have found positions for all of the apprentices after Vaughan was forced into administration last week as a direct result of the insolvency of the construction giant Carillion.
Vaughan was owed more than £600,000 for projects already completed on behalf of Carillion and was contracted to carry out a further £1.1 million worth of Carillion work in the first quarter of this year. The 53-year-old company’s Belfast-based operation was not affected and continues to trade, but Vaughan’s businesses based in Newcastle, Manchester and Edinburgh were hit by the fallout.
BESA chief executive, David Frise, described the swift re-employment of the Vaughan apprentices in Scotland as a “lone bright spot in an otherwise tragic tale”.
“There has been a string of bad news following the collapse of Carillion and the loss of this long-established and highly respected company is heart breaking,” said Mr Frise. “However, the speed with which fellow BESA members have moved to rescue the careers of these apprentices has helped to raise spirits.”
As news of Vaughan’s difficulties began circulating, BESA staff contacted all of the apprentices –based at the company’s divisional HQ in Edinburgh – and advised them to update their CVs. When the administration was confirmed and its 160 staff made redundant, details of all seven, who are either in the third or fourth year of their training, were then circulated to other BESA members in Scotland.
Three of the apprentices were taken on by Blantyre Park Services; with one each going to Servest Arthur McKay; John G Mackintosh; James Frew; and FES.
Ross Farrell, one of the apprentices taken on by BPS, thanked his new employer and BESA for “helping us out through a tough time”.
“I heard about my redundancy on the Tuesday; and by Friday I had a new job, which shows how well both BPS and BESA handled our situation.”
Mr Frise added his thanks to the new employers and commented: “It is often forgotten in the blizzard of headlines around major company insolvencies that the hopes and aspirations of young people are at stake – and that vital skills can be lost to our industry forever.”
Meanwhile civil engineering company Coffey Construction has lent its support for TIGERS Modern Apprentices who were adversely affected by the recent Carillion liquidation.
Coffey made contact with TIGERS, through Scottish Water, to offer two employment opportunities on its projects, one of which David Sinclair has successfully undertaken. Following the initial discussions that took place between TIGERS and Coffey Construction, Operations manager Cathal Kerrigan said his organisation was looking for young people who had a strong work ethic, great punctuality and respect for the opportunity being offered to them.
David Sinclair, who was performing well at the TIGERS Construction Skills Academy when Carillion fell into liquidation, is relishing his new opportunity and over the last two weeks has worked on at least three different elements of the project having been involved in concreting, kerb laying and providing support for other tradesman on site.
Now a general operative at Coffey Construction, David said: “I am over the moon to have been offered an opportunity at Coffey Construction. Everyone has been great. I have already been involved in great work and I am booked into take part in 2 or 3 different short courses over the coming weeks.”
Dougie McBain, Coffey Construction manager, added: “David is off to a great start. His attitude to work over his first two weeks has been excellent. David is travelling from Maryhill to Greenock on public transport every day and is one of the first people through the door, which highlights his commitment to his new role - I believe he has a great future here at Coffey Construction.”
Coffey Construction has built on this recent success by also offering an opportunity to TIGERS Apprentice Kieran Morrison, who started his new role with Coffey Construction on March 19.