Appeal for Sunderland firms to help Carllion’s out of work apprentices and contractors

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.

A Sunderland MP believes work will begin again on the Vaux city centre site soon - but has fears for firms and trainees who could lose out over the collapse of Carillion.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott says she is sure construction on the phase one building on the old brewery plot, which has been halted until further notice, will soon restart following reassurances that the payment by the construction company into its deal with Sunderland City Council through Siglion has already been paid in full.

The former Vaux Brewery site viewed from St Mary's Car park. Picture by FRANK REID

The former Vaux Brewery site viewed from St Mary's Car park. Picture by FRANK REID

The collapse of Carillion under debts of £1.5 billion, has led to liquidators being called in after Government talks failed to save the development giant.

It is believed the firm employs 2,000 people across the region, with around 40 apprentices thought to be based at its training centre in Deptford.

Ms Elliott continues to discuss the future of Siglion - which is a partnership between the council and the company - and any impact the collapse could have on its developments, which also include the regeneration of Seaburn, housing development and a series of business centres and workshops across the city.

She is urging any Wearside apprentices affected to get in touch, while she has also appealed to local firms in the hope they would take on the staff to keep them in a job and complete their training.

I’m confident that work on the Vaux site will not have stopped for long.

Julie Elliott

With many apprentices aged between 16 and 18 and in roles such as bricklaying, decorating and wood work, she is worried their careers are at risk.

Ms Elliott said Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has been drafted in as an alterative provider.

The Echo understands letters have been sent by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to the apprentices stating CITB will take charge and will be working with it and other Government teams as it looks to help them complete their training.

In addition to the apprentices, the Labour MP has said she also wants to hear from any smaller firms which face being out of pocket by the closure of Carillion as she looks to support their future.

Julie Elliott, pictured at the glazing out ceremony held inside the first building on the former Vaux Brewery site in October, alongside Councillor Harry Truman.

Julie Elliott, pictured at the glazing out ceremony held inside the first building on the former Vaux Brewery site in October, alongside Councillor Harry Truman.

Ms Elliott said: “Since the announcement on Monday morning, I have been in contact with the local authority and with Siglion to liaise with them over the future of these important sites.

“I’m confident that work on the Vaux site will not have stopped for long.

“My main concern over the Vaux site are the sub-contactors affected by this and that any money owed to them by Carillion is outstanding because they are way down the line in the pecking order.

“I’m worried about the future of these firms, because they operate on very small margins and don’t have the comfort of being part of some big company.

“Some of these little firms employ just five or six people.”

Ms Elliott has urged any firms affected, apprentices facing unemployment or companies who could step in to help them to call her office on (0191) 565 5327 or email julie.elliott.mp@parliament.uk.