Dundee’s council leader has urged more local firms to bid for major construction contracts in the city.
John Alexander was speaking ahead of a meeting tonight where a report – community benefit of Waterfront and other major projects – will highlight how Dundee has benefited from £350 million of investment in the past three years.
The Strathmartine councillor said as well as the improvement to housing, schools and other buildings, the work had created opportunities for young and unemployed people.
“I’m always live to the conversation and the views that people express to me fairly regularly in terms of: ‘Where’s the benefit of all these new projects and all these new shiny buildings?’,” he said.
“What this report sets out is exactly what the benefits have been. We often look at the new employment, but it’s also about how we’re sustaining current jobs in the city as well.”
Mr Alexander suggested housing, schools and the Waterfront as three examples of major construction works carried out by the council.
He said: “Across those three areas (there has been) major construction across every community in the city, from the Waterfront central project, to new secondary schools, new primary schools, extensions and additions to nursery schools over the last few years as well. So in education alone, there’s £150m we’ve spent on improving our school estate.
“On new housing – the direct council housing we’ve been building but also the support that we provide to landlords like Hillcrest and others – all of that helps sustain construction jobs and other trades associated with that; relaying roads, engineers, electrical works.
“It’s hundreds of millions of pounds going directly into the local economy.”
Mr Alexander said he wanted more local businesses, large and small, to become involved in the contract bidding process for upcoming projects.
He said: “We’ve got to have a very fair process, it has to be open to everyone, but we want as much of that to be spent in the local community as well.
“We want local people to be the beneficiaries of all that investment, both the buildings at the end of it like a brand new community centre in Menzieshill, or a brand new school like Baldragon, but also the investment.
“The businesses that do receive the contracts have to do certain things. They have to employ people who are currently unemployed. They have to offer opportunities for work experience and training. They also have to do community engagement and educational outreach – going out to schools and telling people about the opportunities available in engineering or construction.”
Over the past three years, Mr Alexander said on these large-scale construction projects, local labour used in Waterfront projects was 65%, in schools it was 77% and in housing it was 86%.
They also provided 82 employment opportunities, and a further 34 new starts for people who were previously unemployed.
He also said 48 new modern apprenticeships were created, and 110 existing modern apprenticeships were continued due to the work. In addition, 217 work experience opportunities were also created.