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Open Doors 17: beyond the hoarding

Today marked the start of this year’s Open Doors event, which sees contractors throw open their sites to the general public, allowing them a glimpse of what is really going on behind the hoarding.

Construction News is proud to once again be media partner of this initiative, which is run by trade body Build UK in partnership with training board CITB. Our team will be spreading out across the country this week to visit more than 20 sites.

Deputy editor James Wilmore was on site at the launch event in Alexandra Palace this morning, where he saw the inspiring work being overseen by Willmott Dixon to restore the famous London building to its former glory.

Also on site was ex-Fulham and Hull City footballer, and recent I’m a Celebrity… star Jimmy Bullard, who is an ambassador for Open Doors this year.

The Bulldog used to work in the industry, so was pleased to get back to his roots on site this morning.

Mr Bullard told Construction News he was hoping to inspire young people to consider a career in the sector. ”My dad was a builder, had his own company, and away I went as a boy of 16 coming out of school trying to earn a pound note,” he said. 

Also this morning, reporter Jack Simpson joined 170 others on a boat tour along the Thames, hosted by Tideway, which gave some background to the river’s history and highlighted the current construction sites and how the £4bn super sewer will change the river for the better.

One student from Westminster College attending said the event had given him the opportunity to understand more about where apprenticeship opportunities were and speak directly to employers.

Rounding off today’s activities, reporter Lucy Alderson has been up in Troon in Scotland visiting Kier’s Marr College site.

Keep an eye on Construction News later this week for more reports from sites in Wales, Hull, Bristol, Cambridge and everywhere in between, featuring a range of contractors working in different sectors.

The highlights are set to include the work on phase two of Battersea Power Station, Colwyn Bay’s promenade enhancement, the North West Cambridge Development, and many more.

It’s rare that the industry comes together in this way to present a positive face to the outside world.

Let’s not squander this opportunity. If you’re running a tour, let us know how it went, tweet about it using the hashtag #opendoors17, and make sure to show off the best that this industry has to offer.

And if you’re not involved yet, it’s not too late. Many sites are still taking bookings, so take a friend from outside the industry down to site and show them what you do.

They might be pleasantly surprised.

In the news

Henry Boot has revealed details of its role in getting Manchester’s flagship £250m Kampus development off the ground.

Just up the road, designs have been unveiled for the £25m Oldham Coliseum theatre.

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