Over 200 people today attended an information and networking session aimed at connecting local suppliers to opportunities in the construction sector under the Devolved Schools Programme. The event, hosted by the NDFA in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, provided a platform for local construction suppliers and enterprises to learn more about the schools building programme in the Munster region and to meet with the five contractors who have been appointed to the Design & Build framework panel on the Devolved Schools Programme.
This is the second such event and will be followed by further information and networking events as other projects are rolled out later this year as part of the Government’s PPP Stimulus Package. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet representatives from local business support organisations including local enterprise boards, the Europe Enterprise Network operating under Cork Chamber and also get information on the Pathways to Work and Intreo initiatives from the Department of Social Protection.
The NDFA Devolved Schools Programme consists of 17 schools sites in Leinster, Munster and Connacht with a mix of new builds, extensions and some remedial works to existing schools both at a primary and post primary level.
The five Design & Build contractors that were appointed to the panel include Sammon Group, JJ Rhatigan & Co and Western Building Systems. Two joint ventures are also on the panel – ABM /Clancy Construction & Stewart/Tracey Brothers.
The NDFA is acting on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills (DoES) to deliver on part of its €2 billion major school building programme over the next five years. This programme is historic for the State due to its size and scale with over 100,000 permanent school places to be delivered. This Five Year Plan of investment will create an estimated 15,000 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs over the period of the programme (an annual average of 3,000 direct and 600 indirect jobs). Within the frameworks of this overall programme, the NDFA Devolved Scheme will deliver almost 10,000 new and refurbished school places across 17 school sites. This is a welcome boost not only to the construction industry but to the communities where building will take place.
At the event, Steven Burgess, Head of Project Management, NDFA, said: ‘The NDFA welcomes the opportunity to work in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and other bodies in hosting this event. It is very important that the SME and construction sector is given access to future business opportunities and events like this are about ensuring they have all the information and support they need to fully exploit these opportunities’.
Tom Hayes, Enterprise Ireland Head of Micro Enterprise & Small Business, said: ‘The schools building programme provides a tremendous opportunity for enterprises in the construction sector. The building projects in Munster will be a boost to the local economy. Enterprise Ireland’s public procurement team is working with both the public sector and Irish SMEs on key procurement opportunities particularly within the national investment programme. The aim is to increase the number of Irish SMEs who win projects with the Irish Public Sector, leading to employment and providing reference sites for companies focussing on export markets’.