Morgan Sindall Construction has been congratulated for its commitment to ensuring community benefits are delivered as part of its £27m contract to provide a new home for Neath’s Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School.

To date, 213 local youngsters have engaged with the project and more than £20m worth of contracts have been awarded to Welsh based contractors, and, impressively, approximately £11m of those contracts have been awarded to sub-contractors within the South West Wales region.

In addition, Morgan Sindall Construction is ensuring that it meets the social value requirements of the contract by supporting new entrant jobs and creating apprenticeship and work placement opportunities. Phil Parry, from Neath, who had been long term unemployed was taken on as part the team at Cefn Saeson whilst local career changer, Shannon Jones, has gone from being unemployed to becoming a qualified plant operator after just four months on site.

Some local firms are also benefiting. Rowecord Total Access, who have many staff living within Neath Port Talbot, have, for example, been contracted to undertake all the scaffolding work on the project.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development, Cllr Annette Wingrave, said: “I congratulate Morgan Sindall Construction for its efforts in ensuring a wide range of community benefits come from this very important project which will provide Neath Port Talbot with yet another 21st Century school, meeting our ambition to provide our young people with every chance to fulfil their true potential in life.”

She added: “Projects such as Cefn Season are also supporting the Council’s commitment to delivering sustainable development. Through our policies, strategies and services that aim to build stronger communities; reduce social exclusion and poverty and promote social, economic and environmental well-being to the wider community, the council uses an effective ‘wrap around’ support service via its Economic Development Team, Workways+ project and Community Benefits Officer”.

Since Neath Port Talbot Council pledged to modernise educational provision across its schools more than a decade ago, more than £123m has been ploughed into modernising the Council’s educational estate – a massive investment in the area’s next generations and the biggest of any Council in Wales outside of Cardiff.

The new Cefn Saeson school is rapidly taking shape at Afan Valley Road, Cimla, the building work taking place alongside the existing school building, which will be demolished on completion.

When the work is finished, a total of 900 students will benefit from 56 state-of-the-art classrooms, spread across a two-storey, 97,000 square foot building, include creative workspaces, music and art rooms, with facilities available for students with additional learning needs.

There will also be a number of sporting facilities available for use by the community; with plans for four Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) courts, an activity studio, and a 3G pitch. The scheme has been procured through the South West Wales Regional Contractors’ framework, and is being delivered under the auspices of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme.

Robert Williams, Morgan Sindall Construction’s area director, said: “We go to great lengths to ensure our construction work elicits benefits for local communities which extend far beyond the physical buildings and facilities we deliver.

“Driving spend through skilled local suppliers and providing education, training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people in the community are both key to our approach, and established drivers of the inclusive growth progressive local authorities strive for.

“We are exceeding all of the social value targets set for the project and I am incredibly proud that our work to build a new home for Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School is already positively impacting local residents. We look forward to working in partnership with the council to secure further community benefits as the build progresses.”

Neath Port Talbot Council