Two Gloucestershire apprentices have been given a unique opportunity to hone their skills and build the foundations for a successful career in construction, working on The Forum — Gloucester’s ambitious £107 million project to regenerate part of the city centre.
Featuring grade-A office space, a rooftop bar and restaurant, plus a boutique international hotel, The Forum is set to transform the cityscape and attract new visitors and businesses to Gloucester.
And 25-year-old Jenifer Aaron from Gloucester is part of the project that's reshaping her home city, working on-site with the developers as part of her degree apprenticeship in quantity surveying
Speaking about the opportunity, Jenifer said: 'I didn’t expect to get in when I applied but I learn so much and every day is different. My strengths lie on the financial side, ensuring we stay within budget and we procure at the right time. We get to do rotations so I will gain a knowledge of other working areas on site, and I’ll have an understanding of what everyone does, opening up wider career opportunities in the future.
'The hotel is going to make a real positive impact, drawing in tourists not only to the city, but also those visiting the Forest nearby who want a base for a countryside visit.'
Also involved in The Forum development is 20-year-old Tom Elliott from Tewkesbury, who is currently studying for his degree apprenticeship in site management.
Before his apprenticeship, Tom completed a BTEC in construction and the built environment at Gloucestershire College. Now in his second year of his five-year course, he works on-site in Gloucester as well as attending sessions at Sheffield Hallam University.
Tom said: 'I was interested in architecture, but wanted to see what other options were out there and found there are so many pathways into construction.
'Training as a site manager appeals to me as you are involved in so many different areas — the management, design, surveying and the construction itself. The Forum is a great site to be getting experience on as I get to work on so many different aspects. I’ve been involved from the very start, setting out for the piles in the foundation, to now working on some of the internals of the hotel.'
Peter Langly-Smith, development director at Reef Group, added: 'The Forum is a unique development with the hotel, office space, car park, and more all on one site, offering a diverse range of opportunities for apprentices to cut their teeth and gain valuable experience.
'As well as providing workspace for businesses upon completion, we’re proud that The Forum has created jobs and provided apprenticeship opportunities during the construction phase, too. It demonstrates the significant value the project is bringing to Gloucester and the wider region.'
The development, led by Gloucester City Council and Reef Group, forms part of the £200 million regeneration of the city with University of Gloucestershire, which includes the university’s City Campus development on Kings Square.
The Forum is due to open later this year, with an opening date yet to be officially confirmed.