A £37m schools project in Hexham has helped to create more jobs and training opportunities for local people.

A total of 79 per cent of those employed through project contractor, Galliford Try, on the job live within a 40-mile radius of the site and 18 of those are apprentices – gaining hands-on training to fulfil their own career aspirations.

The project, spearheaded by Northumberland County Council, will see new school buildings for Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School created on the same site.

Coun. Guy Renner-Thompson, Northumberland County Council cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “As a council we are committed to providing the best opportunities for our children and young people locally and it is great to see this schools project is widening those opportunities by providing apprenticeships as well.”

Keeping the school builds project and its employees as local to Northumberland and in the North-East as possible was something local county councillors were keen on happening from the early stages.

Coun. Trevor Cessford, local ward member for Hexham Central with Acomb, said: “This project has been needed in this area for a long time, and to see it help benefit local people by allowing them to learn and grow as well is great news.”

Meanwhile, Coun. Nick Oliver, ward member for neighbouring Corbridge, said: “It is really important for us to keep jobs local where we can, investing in local people for local purpose in Northumberland and the North-East.

"I am really pleased to hear that Galliford Try have done that on this project not only through jobs but also in training too.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Barnett, operations director for Galliford Try North East and Yorkshire, commented: “We are committed to creating high-quality opportunities for young people and industry entrants across our business. It’s been fantastic that we have been able to maintain our ambitions at Queen Elizabeth High School, despite the obvious challenges of the pandemic.

“I hope that those local people who have joined Galliford Try and its supply chain go on to enjoy successful careers in construction.”