A group of leading businesses and representatives from across Mid and South Wales attended a roundtable event at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea (14 September) to meet the team delivering the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme and discuss how the complex work can support jobs and opportunities across Mid and South Wales.
Keen to ensure the Programme to restore the Palace of Westminster utilises strengths and expertise across the whole of the UK and supports regional growth, the Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority co-hosted a roundtable with Chambers Wales to meet local government and business leaders to understand the region’s strengths and promote the supply chain and contractual opportunities.
Alongside the roundtable, representatives from the Delivery Authority also visited Swansea’s historic Palace Theatre to hear all about the recent work to restore the grade II listed building in the heart of the City and take learnings back to the restoration of the Palace of Westminster.
Andy Haynes, Commercial Director at the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority, said:
‘The restoration of the Palace of Westminster needs to be a UK-wide effort, using specialist skills and materials from around the whole of the UK to deliver a fit-for-the-future home of democracy. We had a really positive discussion with business leaders in Swansea about the skills needed for the historic restoration of the Palace of Westminster, and the opportunities this will bring to organisations here.
“It was great to hear passion and enthusiasm from services, business and training organisations from Mid and South Wales to collaborate and ensure we create opportunities in Wales. We discussed the development of traditional craft and building skills and the need to inspire the next generation of heritage experts.”
Paul Butterworth, Chief Executive of Chambers Wales, said:
‘The prospect for Welsh companies cementing Wales into the foundations of democracy in Westminster and be part of this wonderful heritage restoration project is a once in a generation construction opportunity.
“The roundtable hosted by Chambers Wales stimulated a lively audience on what relevant skills would be needed that opened the discussion on the established heritage construction skills that already exist in Wales. It was clear that a collaborative approach is required to develop the skills needs for large-scale projects & Chambers play a pivotal role in working with schools and colleges to engage and highlight the opportunities for future generations and to work alongside apprenticeship creators to develop the heritage and construction skills for the Restoration and Renewal Project but also to ensure skills are developed here in Wales.”
Swansea Council leader Cllr Rob Stewart said:
“We’re delighted that local skills and energy are being recognised by this Palace of Westminster project.
“The council’s work with Welsh businesses to preserve the Palace Theatre building and other local heritage sites such as the former Hafod-Morfa Copperworks shows that specialist expertise that we use to great effect is second to none.
“As Swansea continues its £1bn regeneration we’ll continue to ensure that Welsh business plays a major role.”