Youngsters were given the chance to look around the Rushden Lakes site as work moves forward on the multi-million pound scheme.
More than 2,000 jobs are expected to be created by the major retail and leisure scheme taking shape on the former Skew Bridge site just off the A45 at Rushden.
Young people from the Prince’s Trust were given a tour of the site by Winvic this week and they were joined by several councillors from East Northants Council, which has been working with Fusion21 as part of its Construction Futures scheme aimed at providing training and jobs through public planning and procurement systems.
Dave McGuinness, social value manager at Fusion21, said: “Working closely with East Northamptonshire Council, Construction Futures is helping to kick-start the careers of local people – in addition to developing young talent, raising skill levels and highlighting the variety of jobs and apprenticeships available within the construction industry.
“Development schemes like Rushden Lakes play a key role in supporting job creation.
“Local residents currently employed on site are working in a variety of roles – from planners and ground workers, to administration managers and general construction operatives.”
About 200 people were working on the site on Tuesday, but this number is set to increase as the scheme progresses and the fitting out of the units gets under way.
LXB, the firm behind the Rushden Lakes development, has said the scheme will create more than 2,000 new direct and indirect jobs.
Tours have been offered to young people in the area, such as this Prince’s Trust group and pupils from nearby schools, to show the opportunities being created either during the construction stage or once the first stage of the scheme opens next Spring.
Cranes and cherry pickers are currently being used to build two steel structures on the site, which will house Marks and Spencer and House of Fraser.
Deputy leader of East Northants Council Cllr Glenn Harwood MBE said: “It’s fabulous to see things moving on.
“I have been here on three occasions since the start of the project and it is encouraging to see how aspects of it are coming along.” He said he was looking forward to seeing the job opportunities Rushden Lakes will bring, especially for young people.
And he added: “In my personal view it’s one of the best things to happen in East Northamptonshire.
“What’s particularly pleasing is to see a site that used to be a derelict dump transformed into what’s going to be a bright future.”
Cllr David Jenney said: “It is starting to come out of the ground, people will start to believe it now.”