L-R: Helen Craddock (Ryder), Craig Higgins (James Christopher Consulting), Marc Horn (shed), Chris Toon (Gateshead College) and Steven Horn (B&W)
L-R: Helen Craddock (Ryder), Craig Higgins (James Christopher Consulting), Marc Horn (shed), Chris Toon (Gateshead College) and Steven Horn (B&W)
Richard Bell

Trio of built environment firms back North East’s industry-led PlanBEE initiative

A scheme set up to attract new talent to the built environment industry has landed the support of three high-profile businesses in the sector.

Black & White Engineering (B&W), s h e d and James Christopher Consulting are the latest firms to sponsor PlanBEE, a training programme aimed at plugging skills gaps in the North East and creating a more flexible workforce that can work across multiple construction disciplines.

Gateshead College and Newcastle-based Ryder Architecture launched the scheme in 2016 after forming an alliance with a network of architects, designers, contractors and engineers.

PlanBEE offers trainees the chance to work across several companies, avoiding a more traditional model that sees students complete their qualification at just one business.

The deal with B&W, s h e d and James Christopher Consulting has further widened the range of expertise available.

B&W is a global mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design consultancy with offices UK offices in London and Newcastle. Newcastle-based s h e d is a structural and civil engineering design consultancy. James Christopher Consulting, based in Gateshead, is an engineering practice.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “It’s great to have three additional sponsors on board.

“The industry has called for employees to be skilled in a greater range of disciplines, such as surveying, landscaping, architecture and planning, and PlanBEE addresses this fundamental need.”

Chris added: “We proud to be at the forefront of an industry-led initiative that’s becoming a national exemplar for the recruitment and development of construction employees.”

Ryder Architecture managing partner Mark Thompson commented: It’s fantastic to see the positive impact the programme is making on the students and sponsoring businesses, and we’re delighted to be welcoming the new sponsors to our third cohort.“

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