Employability & Jobs Winner: Graham Farrans Joint Venture | BITCNI Awards

Employability & Jobs Winner: Graham Farrans Joint Venture

Two of Northern Ireland’s leading civil engineering companies – the Graham Group and Farrans Construction  have come together to form the Graham Farrans Joint Venture.


Operating as a separate company, the joint venture has a long-standing history of collaboration and the successful delivery of previous infrastructure projects, including the Westlink – Belfast.

The two major construction contractors are now working on the delivery of the A6 Randalstown – Castledawson Dualling Scheme, pooling the resources of both companies to successfully deliver one of Northern Ireland’s largest infrastructure projects.Delivered on behalf of the Department for Infrastructure, these works will upgrade 14.7km of the Transport Corridor between Randalstown and Castledawson, a route used by over 20,000 vehicles daily.

What Graham Farrans Joint Venture did

As one of Northern Ireland’s largest infrastructure projects, with a flagship investment of £160m, the A6 Dualling Scheme is a significant public procurement contract that can deliver real social impact, creating a better Northern Ireland.

The project‘s rural location has created a barrier to work for many without access to a vehicle. Adding to this issue, public transport links are approximately 1.5 miles from the main site compound. Working in partnership with NIACRO and HMP Service the A6 team devised a transport plan for an inmate work trial programme, overcoming the programme’s biggest physical challenge.

The Venture saw the first contractors attend a careers event in HMP Magheraberry, subsequently providing a successful work trial during a sentence. It has also inspired others to see the potential of this untapped workforce and shared its experience and best practise with other companies in the sector and wider in Northern Ireland

Sub-contractor forums and supply chain awareness sessions were held monthly to create awareness of social impact. These sessions also highlighted the skills shortage facing the construction industry with almost 224,000 new recruits required by 2020, and the important role Buy Social can play in combatting the industry’s most pressing issue.

Innovative employment and skills initiatives have been developed in conjunction with teachers, brokers and lecturers for NEETs to make the most impact from their paid employment/work placement.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • 168 inmates informed at a careers event
  • A successful work trial for inmates during a sentence saved the NI economy an estimated £60,000
  • 1,330 hours training and 16,048 hours mentoring delivered
  • Investment of £695,970 back into the NI economy
  • 86 monthly sub-contractor forums and supply chain awareness sessions held
  • 26 innovative employment and skills initiatives have been developed for those who are NEET with 16,048 hourrs of coaching, mentoring, technical learning and professional development.
  • 15 employability skills training, interview skills and C.V. writing workshops
  • 300,000m3 of stone sustainably sourced from six site borrow pits, 99.9% of site waste was diverted from landfill. 500 tyres discovered on private land have been recycled into children’s playground facilities
  • 9,985 communications with homeowners, businesses and private land owners; 4 stakeholder meetings; consultation with nine local primary schools; 2,200 project information leaflets; and responses to over 726 contacts via a customer care line.
  • 316 in-kind man hours delivered in 94 community initiatives with an in-kind value of £9,600 and charitable donations to local schools, social enterprises and charities have totalled at £7,975

For more information, please email vjohnston@farrans.com