300 residents will benefit from skills initiative as Southampton's £40m Arts Complex takes shape

More than 300 Southampton residents will have the opportunity to be part of the city’s new £40m arts complex scheme which is being delivered by Grosvenor Developments and Southampton City Council. 

10th March 2015

More than 300 Southampton residents will have the opportunity to be part of the city’s new £40m arts complex scheme which is being delivered by Grosvenor Developments and Southampton City Council. The developers are working with contractor McLaren Construction to offer local schools, colleges, universities and other agencies employment and work experience opportunities as part of a co-ordinated skills and training programme.

To date more than 30 local people and groups have taken part in training or skills development sessions. This includes seven new apprentices and five local people who have found permanent roles on site. The number of people given opportunities to learn about construction will increase as the new arts complex moves into the fit-out stage and the commercial occupiers move in to the new shops and restaurants and start trading later this year.

Matthew Adomah, final student at Southampton Solent University

Matthew Adomah is a final year student at Southampton Solent University studying Construction Management.  Matthew said: “I currently work for McLaren 3 days a week on site and spend 2 days a week at University. I love being on site as the subjects we study at University are mostly theoretical but on site we put theory into practice. I have learnt lots of new skills that will assist me with my future career and will help me secure a full time job following graduation.”

Former student Alex Nicholson

Former student Alex Nicholson, who has been employed by McLaren as a banksman, where his main role is being responsible for directing the movement and loading and unloading of lorries, or directing the movement of other plant including cranes. He said: “I’ve been delighted to secure a full time job with McLaren and really pleased that local people like me are benefitting from all the new developments happening in the City Centre”

Structural engineer Milda Pladaite said: "I'm a Graduate in Engineering from the University of Southampton and am now working full time with McLaren here in Southampton. This is my first full time job which has provided me with invaluable practical experience”

HNC Graduate Jamie Prior spends a day a week in college and four days on site. He said: “I absolutely love it. It's great to be part of a team delivering such a high profile building and it's provided me with a fantastic insight into the delivery of a major construction project”.

Located in the heart of the city, the new arts complex will comprise seven restaurant/retail units, 38 stunning new residential apartments, arts facilities for City Eye, the University of Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery and a multi-purpose performing arts centre with two flexible performance spaces and a dance studio.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey recently visited the arts complex. During his visit, he said: “I was particularly impressed by the commitment to developing young people’s skills training, which is an important legacy for a project of this calibre.”

Simon Armstrong, project director at Grosvenor Developments, said:  “It is a priority for us and our partners on this special project to offer skills and training opportunities to local people. Overall we expect more than 300 people to work on the project. To date this has focussed on construction, but as we move forward there will be more employment opportunities in the restaurants and new arts facilities.”

Simon Letts Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “The Arts Complex is part of an investment of over £1.6 billion that the council and its partners have secured for the city and it is essential that local people benefit directly from this. To ensure this happens we ask all developers to commit to an Employment and Skills Plan with their construction partners, and Grosvenor Developments and McLaren are set to meet or exceed the targets we agreed with them at the outset. We’re keen to build on this as we embark on the fit-out of the Arts Complex later this year and as occupiers start to move into the new buildings”

The skills and training programme is the subject of a film recently made by students from Solent Creatives part of Solent University which was commissioned by Grosvenor Developments.

Visit the Southampton Arts Complex featured property page on this website to read more about the development.  



For more information contact:
Naomi Curtis/Sorrel Basher, Press Office
020 7312 6479/6101

Notes to Editors

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland aims to create value through its skills in place-making and design, repositioning locations in ways that change customer perceptions and deliver results for our stakeholders. We own and develop an exceptional range of properties and locations in Britain and Ireland through two business units: our London estate, responsible for assets across 300 acres of Mayfair and Belgravia, and Grosvenor Developments, responsible for all off-estate activity in Britain and Ireland. Both teams have a common goal: to create great places for people to live, work and visit. As at 31 December 2013, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland had assets under management of £5bn.

The Cultural Quarter

The Cultural Quarter is one of seven VIP projects for Southampton, as identified within Southampton City Council's 'City Centre Master Plan', which will be developed over the next 20 years, to rejuvenate and promote economic growth within the city. 

Of the £22 million needed for the arts complex part of the project, around 90% is already in place through support from Arts Council England (£7.3m), Southampton City Council (£12.2 m), the University of Southampton, and SEEDA (0.5m).  Culture Southampton, Southampton Cultural Development Trust, an independent charity, is actively fundraising to secure the remaining £2.1 million from grant-making organisations, businesses, and individuals, to ensure success.  For more information on CultureSouthampton see:

More information about the City Centre Master Plan is available here: http://www.discoversouthampton.co.uk/future/master-plan

More information about the Cultural Quarter is available here: http://www.discoversouthampton.co.uk/future/master-plan/cultural-quarter

Any other questions or enquiries may be directed to:
Helen Wheller, Senior Communications Officer at Southampton City Council, helen.wheller@southampton.gov.uk/02380 833495

McLaren Construction group

McLaren Construction group is one of the UK’s most successful, privately-owned companies that owns and operates divisions in Construction, Property development and investment, and Furniture & Interiors, with a reputation for sustaining long-term relationships with blue-chip customers around the globe. McLaren undertakes projects in both the public and private sectors and delivers contracts to multiple sectors including offices, education, retail, hotel, residential, sports, leisure, manufacturing and distribution sectors. McLaren was awarded Building’s Contractor of the Year 2011, and was the UK’s first company to secure a BREEAM Outstanding rating, for Gazeley’s Blue Planet project. McLaren’s principles are innovation, smart delivery and collaboration, together with a flexible and multi-disciplined approach.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives.  We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature and crafts to collections.  Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together.  Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country (see www.artscouncil.org.uk).

Britain’s cultural sector has boomed after sustained government investment and together we have created world-class work, landmark institutions and quality education programmes.  The cultural sector is one of the fastest growing in the economy, creating jobs and growth for local communities and yet the arts and culture are relatively cheap to support: the current investment is just 14p per person per week; equal to less that 0.05 per cent of total government spending.

John Hansard Gallery

John Hansard Gallery is one of the UK’s leading public art galleries. We present exhibitions of outstanding contemporary art from across the world, alongside a rich programme of events, educational activities and off-site projects. Established in 1979, we are proud to play a dynamic role in the cultural life of Southampton, the wider region and beyond. John Hansard Gallery is part of the University of Southampton and supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Find out more at www.hansardgallery.org.uk

City Eye

City Eye has been at the heart of Southampton’s creative and cultural community since 1987.  It exists to inspire and promote a vibrant film and digital media culture in the City and the region. Year-round activities include a training and workshop programme for all ages and levels of experience, community filmmaking projects, work within schools to support film education and its own film production alongside the support given to others working or seeking to work in the industry. 

In 2008 it launched the Annual Southampton Film Week, a festival which celebrates film and filmmaking across the City.  Southampton Film Week (2 – 10 November 2013) offers opportunities for venues, filmmakers, individuals and organisations from across all sectors to collaborate and present inspiring film related events, drawing people from across the City and beyond to share the experience of film.

CultureSouthampton: Southampton Cultural Development Trust

Our objective is to support development of the Cultural Quarter, through fundraising and advocacy. Our priority is to raise funds to complete the new arts complex, with its galleries, performance and film spaces, planned to open in 2016. We are actively developing support from grant-making organisations, individuals, business, and educational institutions.

The completed Cultural Quarter will bring huge social, educational and economic benefits to individuals, organisations and business in the city and region. Whilst the fundraising target is a significant challenge, we believe this to be achievable with the support of the people and organisations of Southampton, Hampshire, and beyond.

View all Grosvenor contacts