Students from Hong Kong were given a VIP tour of an award-winning heritage restoration project in Manchester during a visit to the north west.
The delegation went behind the scenes at the Whitworth, University of Manchester, to hear about its recent £15m redevelopment, which has earned the attraction several national accolades, including ones from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The tour was organised by Manchester & Cheshire Construction, a key contractor on the scheme, after an approach from the Hong Kong Vocational Training Council.
Forty-two young people from the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, a member of the VTC, were in Britain for a study tour to learn more about the UK’s construction industry.
The participants are studying for qualifications in building studies, surveying and building technology with interior design.
Accompanied by three teachers, the group spent time at the University of Central Lancashire and Coventry University.
The organisers were also keen to learn about the work of a successful British company and got in touch with Manchester & Cheshire, which has close ties to the Far East.
"It provided a golden opportunity for the students to get close to a great heritage project and to learn about advanced construction ideas"
Development director Mike Purcell has previously worked on major projects in Hong Kong and the firm recently formed the Anglo-Chinese Alliance with Chongqing Jinstar Real Estate Development Company from China for the delivery of large residential projects in Greater Manchester.
Mike and Manchester & Cheshire managing director Dave Lowe accompanied the group on their visit to the Whitworth along with Steve Yang, Jinstar’s director of international co-operation.
Nicola Walker, the Whitworth’s head of collections care and access and its client co-ordinator on the project, presented a history of the art gallery and led the group on their tour.
Mike said: “We were delighted to be invited to assist the group with their studies during their visit to the north west, and decided to make the Whitworth our focus.
“It provided a golden opportunity for the students to get close to a great heritage project, and to learn about advanced construction ideas.”
The Whitworth, a Grade II listed building, reopened in February 2015 following its £15m redevelopment designed by London-based architect MUMA.
As part of the scheme, Manchester & Cheshire refurbished the Grand Hall and created an external sculpture terrace and new access routes, while also carrying out roofing improvements.
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