A FAMILY-OWNED construction and civil engineering firm has promised 'positive and lasting' community impact after winning a place on a Sellafield framework.

Sir Robert McAlpine has joined Sellafield’s Programme and Project Partners (PPP) as a key delivery partner.

The company will provide groundworks and concrete structures for construction projects at the nuclear site.

And the business has pledged to create a host of opportunities for west Cumbria over the lifetime of the £1billion, 17-year framework.

These include opening a regional office, recruiting local workers and suppliers, and investing in apprenticeships and training.

Tony Gates, managing director, civil engineering, for Sir Robert McAlpine, said: "We’re thrilled and excited to join the Programme and Project Partners team at Sellafield.

"Its industry-leading approach to delivering complex infrastructure projects in a highly regulated sector aligns with our commitment to engineering excellence and effective collaboration that is embedded in our family values and inclusive culture."

Luke Richardson, head of social impact for Programme and Project Partners, said: "It’s great news to have a leading UK construction and civil engineering company join the team.

"Sir Robert McAlpine has made some great commitments as part of this contract.

"They’ve committed to support local employment, but they’ve gone further in committing to both the Building Future Trades and the Programme and Project Partners Internship Scheme.

"These are targeted employability schemes which will provide life changing opportunities for people in West Cumbria."

'What percentage will be reinvested?'

Deputy mayor of Whitehaven councillor Edwin Dinsdale is unsure of the plans but says he hopes that they will help to alleviate some of the problems in the community. 

Mr Dinsdale said: "Will this money and will this training help to address some of the highest levels of child poverty and youth unemployment that some parts of the Whitehaven area have currently got?

"What percentage will be reinvested back into Whitehaven, Copeland and west Cumbria as part of any socio-economic plan?

"The pledge that McAlpine's have made to work with local organisations is all well and good but from a personal point of view I'd like to see that firmed up into a more contractual arrangement."