Leeds project generates £10m in social value

New statistics have been announced regarding the success of the Forging Futures Campus at the £400million Kirkstall Forge development in Leeds. Led by developer CEG, it will deliver 400,000 sq ft of commercial and community space, more than 1,000 new homes along with retail, leisure and other facilities.

As part of the development, CEG established the Forging Futures Campus in 2017. It is a hub for providing new skills and an employment initiative programme aimed at helping young people from all backgrounds across Yorkshire to develop the skills they need to progress a career.

The latest research into the success of the Forging Futures Campus has revealed that the following was achieved in the first two years:

  • More than £10m in social value has been delivered. This was calculated by reviewing the social, economic and environmental outcomes created for local communities and the wider region. It includes the Campus’ ability to help those out of work and education to find pathways into new apprenticeships and training.
  • Over 450 participants have benefited from the curriculum delivery, site visits, workplace engagement, CV workshops and mock interviews in partnership with a number of Leeds schools, colleges and universities.
  • More than 116 individuals have graduated from the training initiative for 16 – 24 year olds, with over 70% having a positive outcome, including 45 new jobs and 54 going on to further training, education and apprenticeships.
  • CEG’s partnership with Skill Mill at Kirkstall Forge facilitated the commencement of this programme in Leeds, offering site experience, support and funding to cohorts of young ex-offenders helping them gain training and on-site experience. Since 2016, 32 have graduated delivering an estimated saving of £2.25million to the public purse from reduced repeat offending (90% reoffending reduction achieved), with 50% going into training, apprenticeships and jobs.

Sean O Toole came to the Forging Future Campus in 2018 and within two weeks had become more confident and aware of potential job opportunities. Two years on and he is now doing a L4 Apprenticeship and is employed at Bellingham IT in Leeds. Commenting on his experience, Sean said: “When I was first introduced to the course, I didn’t really have a vision of what I wanted to do. This course has given me the opportunity to meet some of the most inspirational and hardworking people that I’ve ever met. Throughout the duration of the course, I became more confident in myself as a person and improved how I work with others. As a result, I am now working as an IT apprentice at an incredible company filled with caring and passionate people. I could not have been given a greater gift.”


Lucinda Yeadon, Community Liaison Manager at CEG, said: “Seeing how the Campus is benefitting individuals like Sean is fantastic and we look forward to helping many more local people as our Kirkstall Forge and Temple projects continue.

“We’re passionate about providing long-term benefits to communities, so for us it was really important that we started delivering programmes aimed at those furthest from the job market. One of our key drivers, aside from the buildings themselves and the regeneration of physical spaces, is to firmly embed ourselves within the community that we’ve choose to develop within. We’re incredibly proud of those that have already taken part and are starting to see the positive impact. Our focus now is on how we continue this and ensure we meet our growing social value aspirations.”

Project Management company, Pierre Angulaire, manages the Forging Futures Campus on behalf of CEG. Howard Metcalf at Pierre Angulaire said: “The impact we’re seeing already in terms of social value as a result of the programmes that are available for young people at Kirkstall Forge is clearly impressive. What’s also key to measuring the value is gaining the feedback from the individuals who have been through the course, both directly and through their family and friends. We’re not just generating a financial benefit, but creating life changing, long-term opportunities for young people in our region.”

CEG also partners with other property and professional services companies, including Turner & Townsend, WYG, Arup, Cartwright Pickard, Faithful and Gould, and Hoare Lea to offer a Level 3 NVQ/Diploma apprenticeship scheme. 12 young people have the chance to rotate training placements with the companies and undertake college learning at Leeds College of Building which is being funded by CEG and participating consultants. Pastoral support and course enrichment delivered by EN:Able Futures.