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Apprentices support health sector as Aberdeen BioHub nears completion

The BioHub build is supporting construction jobs and new entrants to the industry, including apprentices from North East Scotland College Mohamad Alhamdani, Jayden Dale and Owen Garner .
The BioHub build is supporting construction jobs and new entrants to the industry, including apprentices from North East Scotland College Mohamad Alhamdani, Jayden Dale and Owen Garner .

A major construction project at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is nearing its final stages as it plans to open its doors in the autumn.

More than 60 people are currently at work on the BioHub project including a number of apprentices from North East Scotland College (Nescol).

BioHub, led by economic development agency Opportunity North East (ONE), is a £40 million investment in the region’s life sciences sector on Aberdeen’s Foresterhill Health Campus.

Construction apprentices from North East Scotland College Mohamad Alhamdan, Jayden Dale and Owen Garner on BioHub site.

BioHub is now halfway through its main construction phase, its backers said.

Once it is open later this year, it will provide a home for up to 400 scientists involved in commercialising healthcare research and grow the economy in the region.

Community benefits

Community benefits delivered by main contractor Robertson Construction include construction apprenticeships with North East Scotland College (Nescol), careers and skills sessions with pupils across primary and secondary schools, work placements, and volunteering with local charities.

A garden for NHS staff has also benefitted from a donation of benches.

Jennifer Craw, chief executive of ONE, said: “The whole team delivering BioHub has done an outstanding job over the past nine months to realise the project vision on site.

“The build phase of this transformational public and private investment provides valuable construction jobs in the city and inspires young people setting out on their careers.

“These benefits are significant to the community and economy just now.

“BioHub will open in the autumn and accelerate the growth of our life sciences sector. Including more high-value jobs in start-up, spin-out and scaling businesses and bringing new therapies, treatments, technology and digital solutions to market.”

Improving health here and abroad

NHS Grampian deputy chief executive, Adam Coldwells, said: “Healthcare organisations face unprecedented challenges that require transformative innovations in diagnostics, therapies, and digital technology.

“As a strategic partner, we look forward to collaborating closely in all aspects of BioHub activity and supporting efforts to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes here in the UK and internationally.”

Michael Gove, Sir Ian Wood and Kate Forbes at an earlier stage of the BioHub construction project. Picture by Michal Wachucik/Abermedia

BioHub will provide laboratory, incubation and collaboration space, custom accommodation, specialist business growth programmes, and access to expert networks and investors.

It is a flagship addition to the ARI campus which is one of Europe’s largest clinical, research and teaching sites for life sciences and medicine.

The project secured £20 million of capital funding jointly provided by the UK Government and Scottish Government via the Aberdeen City Region Deal.

ONE committed up to £5.6m while NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen are strategic delivery partners in the project.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “Despite the challenges of coronavirus the BioHub is making fantastic progress and already providing a boost to the area.

“When completed, it will grow the north-east’s life sciences sector and bring new jobs to the region.”

Scottish Government economy secretary Kate Forbes said: “The BioHub project is playing an important role in helping Aberdeen diversify its economy and transition to a prosperous net zero future.

“As well as providing immediate benefits to the skills development and employment of young people through its construction, it offers long-term opportunities to those with ambitions in the life sciences sector.”

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