The Catalyst, a flagship £40m building project at Staffordshire University, is “keeping the pound” in Stoke-on-Trent through its supply chain and community outreach initiatives.
The partnership was initiated as part of a social value pledge between Staffordshire University and VINCI Building, which aims to positively impact the local city area as well as local communities throughout the duration of the construction works.
Creating jobs and opportunities for local people, suppliers and businesses is at the heart of the project with a quarter of project spend and labour coming from within ten miles of the University’s Leek Road campus. Locally sourced works include the iconic precast Staffordshire Blue bricks made in Newcastle-Under-Lyme by North Staffordshire concrete supplier, Thorp Precast, whilst external glazing and louvres and the internal lobby screen have been completed by the Stoke-on-Trent based Quality Glass.
Alongside keeping spend local and supporting local community outreach projects, The Catalyst has also played a role in combatting the UK’s growing construction skills shortage which requires 160,000 new recruits within the sector to keep up with demand by 2023. Month long work placements have enabled local students and graduates from non-construction backgrounds to immerse themselves in all aspects of the industry from the commercial side of construction through to on-site engineering.
Professor Martin Jones, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Designate at Staffordshire University said, “As a civic anchor institution, the University is committed to playing a leading role in improving the regional economy and enriching our local communities.”
“This flagship facility will be a landmark development in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, which is why we’re delighted that during the construction process, it has already been able to benefit the local area, in particular businesses and graduates during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Andy Astley, VINCI Regional Director for the Midlands said, "We are extremely proud in delivering such a landmark building, which will form an integral part of the University’s continued ambition to create state-of-the-art facilities and space for its students, staff and the wider public."
"The positive economic impact the scheme is already having on the local area is fantastic and is testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone on site.”
Earlier this year the project collaborated with the Shelton Community Partnership engaging over 50 local community volunteers including University staff and students, local residents, businesses, and school children in a socially distanced litter pick around the Shelton area of Stoke-on-Trent. The project has also hosted Mental Health Training Days and drop in sessions and sponsored local youth football club, Madeley White Star.
Construction of The Catalyst building at Staffordshire University is due to be completed later this year ready to welcome students, staff, and visitors in the opening months of 2022.
Once complete, the new facility will continue to serve the community through its family-friendly facilities, new catering provisions, teaching and learning areas and flexible event spaces.
For more information on The Catalyst building please visit: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/about/facilities/campus-transformations/home