The site of the new £35m leisure complex in Craigavon has been host to up to 20 apprentices getting on-the-job training.
South Lakes Leisure Centre, which is being built by local construction and engineering firm Farrans, is on track for completion next year.
The construction phase alone is expected to deliver an estimated £6.5m in direct wages to the economy, and the 500 jobs directly created are in addition to the staff that will run the new leisure facility.
The dedicated apprentice programme is providing a range of opportunities for young people keen on progressing a career in the construction sector.
It started last year and up to 20 apprentices are being deployed across a range of roles.
Once complete, the leisure centre, which will create 500 construction jobs during its development, will be home to world class facilities including a 50-metre swimming pool, NI’s largest gym at over 1,000 square metres, an eight-court sports hall and an extensive outdoor water-sports provision.
Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell, said: “Skills development is a key priority in helping to drive, support and grow a successful local economy and we’re delighted that working with Farrans on our largest capital project investment to date, has created so many opportunities for work-based learning and training have been created. Our apprentices are ambassadors for our Council and we’re really proud of the work they do and the contribution they make.”
The new complex will also feature an indoor children’s soft play area and innovative new ‘Pool Pod’ platform lifts, designed to improve pool access for people with disabilities and for those less mobile.
Felim Blaney, Contracts Manager, Farrans Construction, said: “Our success is built on the skills and talent of our team and we’re keen to drive recruitment numbers across all areas of our business and across the wider sector, producing a motivated ‘talent pipeline’ of keen and motivated people who will be our future leaders.
“Working with ABC Council, we’re delighted to be offering up to 20 people the opportunity to come and work with us to help create an inspiring destination and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help positively shape the health and wellbeing of everyone in the locality. Apprentices are vitally important for the local and wider economy and for providing on-the-job prospects in real-life scenarios.”