MSP visits flagship development building careers in construction

November 18, 2021

To mark Scottish Careers Week, one MSP is flying the flag for careers in the built environment after visiting one of Scotland’s largest mixed-use developments.

On Wednesday (November 17th), Martin Whitfield MSP, a former primary school teacher and Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament for South Scotland, visited Blindwells, the East Lothian development where 1,600 new homes are being created together with infrastructure comprising of education and healthcare services, landscaped open spaces as well as retail and leisure facilities.

Organised by The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) the visit highlighted to Mr Whitfield – the Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, Lifelong Learning and Youth Employment – the opportunities available in the vital field of construction, as well as the skills and qualities needed to help the industry’s growth and productivity.

Iain Slater, development and estates director at Hargreaves Land, the development company behind the Blindwells scheme, said: “Ahead of the first residents moving into Blindwells in the weeks ahead, our team has been hard at work applying impeccable standards in building a town that will be a relaxing yet vibrant part of the East Lothian landscape, an endeavour that requires a huge range of skills – skills that require investment.

“It was an honour for myself and development director Bruce Lindsay, to show Mr Whitfield our progress in making a modern and sustainable urban environment in which families and businesses can thrive.”

CITB Scotland’s Customer Engagement Manager Barry Dawson, who was also present on Wednesday, added: “The Scottish construction industry requires a skilled workforce. Our latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecast shows that more than 5,200 new employees a year are required in the Scottish industry. This presents a real opportunity for anyone considering construction as a career choice.

“Construction is building its way back to full strength after the Pandemic and it is important that apprentices are recognised as a vital part of the recovery and the talent of the future.”

“It was a pleasure to discuss this with Mr Whitfield and the team at Blindwells.”

Martin Whitfield MSP added: “I’m pleased to see that Blindwells is now making real progress and helping to create new job and apprenticeship opportunities for young people. With hundreds of houses and new public infrastructure being built at the development over the coming years, the site will offer a wide range of ways to build a career in construction. I welcome these new skilled jobs and look forward to seeing many more local young people forging a career in the industry in the future.”

More than 200 new homes are currently under development at Blindwells, which will feature a new school among its many amenities, and work is due to start early in 2022 by Persimmon on a further 197 residential properties.

In recent weeks, five acres of land at the scheme have also been launched by Hargreaves Land for exclusive use by businesses seeking new commercial property opportunities in East Lothian.