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Open Doors Week: Morrison builds Highland Hospice by the river

“There are jobs out there – you’ve just to go out there and get them.”

CITB careers adviser Billy Skinner is speaking to a group of interested school-leavers who’ve come to Morrison Construction’s Highland Hospice project on a Saturday afternoon.

They’ve come to find out what a real construction site looks like – and Billy is now giving them some practical advice about how to approach firms and find those who are taking on apprentices.

The talk comes after a walk around the site, which sees Morrison Construction building an extension to the existing Highland Hospice on the banks of the river Ness in Inverness.

The extension will more than double the facility’s size from 700 sq m to 1,700 sq m, with new bedrooms for patients that meet updated regulations, as well as office space for staff on the floor above.

The building is a mix of one and two storeys, with timber frame on the single-storey areas and a steel frame supporting the two-storey section.

On the outside, the building joins the listed Ness House next door, so specialist stonemasons have been employed to clad part of the new building nearby so that it doesn’t look out of place – with a striking new stone turret constructed.

A glass curtain wall separates old from new to provide a visual division.

Open Doors 2016 Morrison Construction Highland Hospice Inverness 1

Open Doors 2016 Morrison Construction Highland Hospice Inverness 1

Project manager Alison Muirhead shows us around the site, explaining the different trades as we go – M&E, bricklayers, roofers – and that the scaffolding was designed and erected by Morrison’s three-man in-house scaffold team – an unusual step for a main contractor.

Alison tells her story too, having gone to university before moving into construction and working her way to up to become a project manager. At school, her careers adviser told her this wasn’t possible.

“He said I couldn’t go to university and that I couldn’t go into construction – so I’ve proved him wrong,” she says. “I don’t think anyone should ever say to someone that they can’t do something.”

It’s a fine example of the potential offered by careers in construction and the many routes available to young people – and it’s a lesson that seemed to hit home with Morrison’s young visitors.

Highland Hospice

Contractor: Morrison Construction
Client: Highland Hospice
Value: £5m
Start date: June 2015
Location: Inverness

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