Parklands Pupils Explore the World of Work

Primary School students from East Leeds have benefited from a skills initiative delivered by the team behind a nearby £60m major project to build a new Motorway Service Area (MSA) on the M1. Project Developers of Leeds Skelton Lake Services, Extra MSA Group, worked closely alongside Leeds-based social enterprise, Ahead Partnership, to showcase the skills needed to develop such a project, to around 50 students from Parklands Primary School in Cross Gates – a school which benefits from Pupil Premium funding for disadvantaged areas.

The day-long session, which was designed and led by the team at Ahead Partnership, involved students learning more about the construction industry and the ecology surrounding construction sites. As part of this, students undertook a number of interactive activities, including exploring school grounds for signs of wildlife habitats in a ‘school safari’, and creating a ‘bug village’ under the supervision of the ecologists and contractors involved. The session gave students the opportunity to explore the construction management complexities of the project and also enabled members of the Project Professional Team to engage directly with the local community.

Chris Dyson, Headteacher at Parklands, which has recently been rated Outstanding by Ofsted, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Ahead Partnership and Extra MSA Group, the Construction Management team behind Leeds Skelton Lake Services, for designing this fantastic session for our Key Stage 2 students. Ecology and the environment are becoming really important curriculum areas, so to have professionals with different disciplines from the world of work come to our school, was brilliant. It’s vital that we engage with businesses and employers who operate close to our school, and this session went down very well with our students.”

Megan Lipp, Head of Business Development at Ahead Partnership said: “Working with Parklands has been an absolute joy. Ecology and the environment are becoming more important to a number of employment areas, and delivering these key skills that can be so readily related to the world of work, can give young people the inspiration they need to make positive career choices.”

“Parklands in particular has come on a fantastic journey, under the leadership of Chris and his team, and being able to link up a major local infrastructure project with students from this area has been of fantastic value to all involved. Helping to engage with young people who might just be starting to think what careers they want to move into is really important, and through working with Extra MSA Group and their team of Professionals on the Leeds Skelton Lake Services project, we’ve certainly helped to energise the construction managers, engineers and ecologists of the future.”

Dennis Enuson, Group Planning and Development Officer at Extra MSA Group said: “Delivery of Leeds Skelton Lake Services is a significant investment in the region, helping to create jobs during construction and operation.”

“The two Main Contractors, Morgan Sindall and Henry Boot are based in Leeds and Sheffield respectively. Extra has also appointed several Leeds based Consultants such as   Architecture 519, Curtins Consulting, Smeeden Foreman Landscapes, Spawforths Planning, Social Communications, Arups (Leeds and Sheffield offices). Extra’s Property and Planning Lawyers, notably Shoosmiths LLP and Shulmans LLP are also Leeds based. Having various projects partners directly involved and committed to the Ahead Partnership school activities and rooted within the surrounding community, has been inspiring.”

The year-six students from Parklands benefitted from one of the highly regarded ‘world of work’ days designed and delivered by Ahead Partnership, as part of a program developed to inspire young minds and help inform students of their options beyond education. Ahead Partnership programmes will benefit more than 150,000 students this academic year, and the event at Parklands is part of a wider initiative delivered alongside Extra MSA throughout the first half of 2019. Future events will allow secondary school students to visit the Motorway Service Area, to see first-hand the workings of a live construction site.

Extra MSA Group is committed to delivering social value as part of its efforts. Construction of Leeds Skelton Lake Services commenced in Summer 2018 and is set for completion later this year. The site boasts a range of environmentally friendly features, which will help to set it apart from other Motorway Service Areas and integrate with the local environment.