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Young people in Burnley shape £23m Pioneer Place

Young people in Burnley are shaping the development of the £23 million Pioneer Place retail and leisure scheme, which is due to open in autumn 2023.

The huge project is being built by Burnley Council’s development partner Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group. It will include a seven-screen REEL cinema, five retail and leisure units and a 226-space carpark.

And the group have shown their commitment to young people by recruiting Themis apprentices and offering valuable work experience opportunities, working closely with Burnley College students to allow learners regular access on-site to gain knowledge about how developments of this size progress.

Iqra Shafqat, 17, is currently on a work experience placement to learn about site management. She is studying Advanced Level Construction and the Built Environment at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre. She initially thought she wanted to go into architecture, but enjoyed working on large projects and the organisation that goes into them. She works with Eric Wright on the Pioneer site one a day a week and the other days are at college.

“I’m the first in my family to go into site management, several are in medicine or law. As a young female in construction I’ve not faced any preconceptions about going into what may be seen as a male-dominated role. It’s been a really positive experience. I was initially working with the Eric Wright Group for 45 days, but three weeks into the role they’ve asked me to stay on until Pioneer Place is built, so I’m really pleased,” Iqra said.